The best overall girls team in the state is arguably the ladies of Pine Crest who are coming off a 2A Cross Country Finals championship. We preview the 2017 Panthers in this Scouting Report.
How did your team fare last season and what did you take away from 2016?
Last year we had an incredible season with our girls finishing as State Champions. Our team average time, 18:41, was also the fastest in the state regardless of classifications. We then went on to compete at the Nike Southeast Regional meet and finished 5th, with Tsion Yared qualifying for Nike Nationals as an individual. Our girls team was able to stay healthy for the whole season which was pivotal to our success. We had great momentum going into the track season and are excited for another run at the state title this season!
How is the team looking this year? What are your tentative top five and top seven?
The team is youngm but filled with very strong runners. We have varsity returners, Tsion Yared, Mahdere Yared, Maya Beleznay, Emily Faulhaber, and Amanda Schwartz. Additionally, we return some strong up and coming runners in Lorrie Axelrod, Libby Torregrosa, Sierra Stocker, Gretchen Montgomery and transfers Cassandra Lawlor and Nina Lawlor.
What are the strengths of this team?
The strength of this team is that all the girls are very close. They all encourage each other and hold each other accountable which is really important. Even though they are a young group, they have lots of experience they can draw from. We have lots of positive momentum coming from our very successful 2016 season which will carry into the upcoming season.
What has the training been like? Have you gone to any camps?
Summer training has been great so far. The girls have been progressively adding on mileage each week and they are looking stronger each week. We attended Brevard Distance Running Camp for the second time as a team and had as great a time as last year. The girls really got a chance to bond, as well as challenge themselves on the mountains of North Carolina.
Any new additions who may contribute? Any surprise non-returners?
Cassandra and Nina Lawlor (incoming junior and sophomore, respectively) are two new transfers to the team. Cassandra has PR's of 19:18.41 (5k), 11:51.94 (3200m) and 5:32.57 (1600m). Nina has PR's of 20:14.69 (5k), 12:34.80 (3200m) and 5:38.01 (1600m). They have made outstanding additions to this team and we are very excited to have them at Pine Crest.
What are the team goals and meets you're keying for this year?
Similar to last year, the girls put together a goal sheet, on which they wrote down goals for academics, practices and races. Our main goal is to keep everyone healthy and strong throughout the season in order for the girls to perform at their best at the State and Nike SE Regional meets. The girls are working towards defending last year's state title and are looking to qualify for Nike Nationals as a team.