Another successful year for Jesup XC
By Micah Knebel

The 2021 J-Hawk cross country squad closed out another strong season.

The varsity girls finished fourth at state for the fourth consecutive year. Freshman Mackenzie Wilson scored an impressive sixth place at state, giving her her first medal and first All-State recognition. Senior Amanda Treptow took ninth and earned a medal for the third time in her career. It was the third time Treptow had made All-State. Sophomore Clare Wright, who qualified individually to state alongside Treptow and Wilson, finished 19th for Jesup.

The girls’ program finished second in the conference, and, at each regular season meet, the girls were able to place three runners in the top ten.

“This allowed our back end to develop as needed and then come conference, districts, and state, our back end was much stronger and allowed for some of our best racing all year,” said head coach Nick Green.

The coach was proud of the team’s state finish. “The girls raced great and I would say ran their best or second best race of the season,” Green said. “They came up a little short of their goal for top three but raced very well.”

For the first time in 24 years, the varsity boys punched their ticket to state. “Seeing the boys qualify was incredibly surreal,” said Green. “We had the live results pulled up, and the screen showed we advanced by one point. I refused to believe it until the final results were announced.”

“Once they were, we had a lot of hugs, high fives, and even some tears going around,” he said.

Senior Nolan Evans and junior Kile Rottinghaus qualified to state individually.

Senior Nolan Evans, who competed for the second time at state, finished as the #2 runner in 2A. Evans tied the highest finish in the boys’ program’s history. Overall, the team finished 15th.

Evans led the way throughout the boys’ season as the team’s top finisher and won the conference title. The work of the J-Hawks’ second through seventh runners also was crucial. “Our runners from two through seven all ended up pushing each other to multiple lifetime bests and was the reason we qualified as a team,” Green said.

The team will lose 11 seniors this season. “As a whole, this group qualified for state five times, had 10 individual qualifying performances, five all-state performances, and routinely placed in the top 3 of the conference,” said Green. “This is a group we will miss dearly, but we also know they helped lay the foundation for the groups to follow.”

Seniors Maddie Tomson and Amanda Treptow were recently recognized for Academic All-State, an honor that has not been met in some time. In order to qualify, the athletes had to make it to state, maintain at least a 3.8 GPA, and score 28 or higher on their ACT.

Green, who marks his third year as the At Large Coach of the Year for Girls Class 2A, noted the development of the cross country program’s middle school and JV runners as well.

“Almost 100% of our runners experienced lifetime best at some point throughout the season,” said Green, “and we have a lot of talented runners coming up over the next few seasons.”

“For this next year we plan to prepare like we always do and focus on having a great spring in track/soccer and getting our runners to log some miles in the summer,” Green said. “Running in the summer is huge to our success as a program and, if we can get our kids to put in some time during June and July and August, we will have a great fall.”
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