Making a STATEment about Cross Country

Lady Wolverines Qualify to Runners to State Competition


Conley and Swinerton

For the first time in the history of West G girls cross country, the Wolverines will be represented by two athletes at the state tournament. Sophomore Olivia Conley and Senior Deanna Swinerton will make that dream a reality this coming weekend. The meet is on Saturday, November 4th, in Hebron, Ohio. The meet takes place at The National Trails Raceway. Additionally, this is even more impressive, as the last female qualifier for West Geauga was Liz Gross in 1998.

Deanna placed 11th at the regional and Olivia finished 10th. The top 24 runners in each region qualify to the state meet. Olivia and Deanna will both be looking to set personal records (PR) at the meet and for the school. Olivia’s PR is 19:30, which is the second fastest time in West Geauga history. Deanna holds the third fastest with a 19:39 clocking.

Science teacher, Mr. Mike Taurasi, is cross country coach. Taurasi is very proud of both girls and wishes them best as they compete this weekend. He wants both girls to take care of themselves this week and be ready for the race on Saturday. He said, “Be patient and run your race. It’s always a better feeling to be passing others in the race, than to be passed!” Taurasi has also noticed a large improvement in the last couple weeks, leading up to this meet. The girls have trained, “…very smart,” and he hopes it shows during the meet.

Deanna’s has run cross country for the last three years of high school and she has noticed a difference in her times leading up to the meet. According to Deanna, her favorite part about qualifying is being able to finish the season out strong. Deanna is proud of herself because all of her hard work has paid off and (being a senior) it is a great way to end her career. Deanna is also very proud of her teammate, Olivia, because of what she has accomplished and being able to share this experience with her.

Deanna trains in the summer to build a base for her season and continues to run until November. Every day the team, which consists of seven total girls, runs about 5-7 miles, depending on the day. They also run some interval workouts that help with speed. Deanna has also lettered on tennis for 4 years and is on the track team. Last year Deanna, qualified for regionals for the first time, but didn’t qualify to state. Deanna said, “I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to be successful in what I do, while balancing other aspects of my life.”

Olivia is proud to have qualified to states with her teammate, Deanna. She trains all year round for cross country. She runs 4 to 8 miles daily, lifts weights, and enters different races through the year. This year is Olivia’s first year running cross country, yet she has accomplished so much in such a short period of time. When asked if she had to do anything “special,” or make any inordinate sacrifices, she replied with, “I didn’t give anything up.” Sounds good to us !

Good luck this weekend, ladies !