It's state championship week, the final 5,000 meters of the year.
For some, like Northview seniors Janelle Noe, Robin Foster, and Abigail Masters, it's their last chance to run in a state meet. The Wildcats head to state as regional champions for the second time in four seasons after Noe led the way by finishing first at the Division I regional in Tiffin with a time of 18 minutes, 32.38 seconds.
Making the most of the opportunity is the approach the Wildcats plan to take on Saturday at National Trail Raceway.
"We can only hope for the best and we'll do our best," said Northview coach Jodie Smith, whose team placed seventh at state last season. "We will be hoping for a higher place than that [seventh] as long as we can stay healthy and continue to do what we've been doing."
Clay junior Erin Gyurke, who placed second at the regional, and freshman teammates Haley Hess and Hannah Hess will also be running at the state meet.
Perrysburg junior Taylor Monheim and Notre Dame freshman Stephanie Sherman are also qualifiers.
After running second as a team at the regional, St. Francis' David St. John, Kyle Lach, Dan Siebenaller, Jason White, and Dan Lenart will push to compete for first place at the state competition.
"We're just excited to have the opportunity to race," said St. Francis coach Jim Neary, about the Knights qualifying to state as a team for the third year in a row.
The Knights placed eighth last fall.
In Division II, Wauseon sophomore Taylor Vernot is among contenders for the individual title after winning the regional race with a time of 18:55.88.
"I think I'm going to feel more confident going [at state] than I did last year," said Vernot, who placed 12th a year ago. "I'm just going to go and do my best and see what happens."
In Division III, defending state champion Liberty Center and Liberty-Benton are expected to compete for the girls team championship after placing second and third, respectively, at the regional meet.
Liberty Center's Brittany Atkinson, Kelly Haubert, Paige Chamberlain, Olivia Kundo, and Rachel Pinson are looking to make an even stronger showing than they did at regionals. "Everything will have to be in order for next week and everything will have to be perfect," Atkinson said, regarding what it will take to repeat as the individual state champion and team champion. "I'm going to have to work extra hard this week and make sure I'm doing everything right."
Liberty-Benton is another team to be reckoned with after a third-place finish at the regional. The Eagles are led by Madi Greiner, Taylor Thomas, Kate Baumlein, Mackenzie Briggs, and Megan Saums.
Toledo Christian senior Delainey Phelps has momentum on her side going into state after finishing second at the regional. Genoa freshman Carly Gose also qualified.
Among D-III boys, Toledo Christian senior Daniel Burkett advanced by placing seventh at the regional.
Contact Donald Emmons at: email@example.com, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.