State qualifying trio


Kylie Bridgeman

Kate Stiens, ‘23, SENIOR Owen Murray, and Gianni Allwein, ‘23 qualified for the state cross country meet running times of 16:57, 16:49 and 19:41, respectively.

The WHHS cross country team sent three Eagles off to the state meet on Nov. 6. SENIOR Owen Murrary, Gianni Allwein, ‘23, and Kate Steins, ‘23, all qualified after running successful regional races on Oct. 30.

Running cross country is a mental game. Alongside your athletic capability, you have to find it in yourself to push through adversity.

“You work so hard, you go through so much pain, but you learn to love the pain,” Murray said. “Then you see it all pay off in your races.”

Murray was unsure if he would qualify for the state meet. He entered the race ranked 24th in the region, but only the top 20 runners advanced to compete at the state meet.

“You go out fast, basically a full sprint so that you’re with the faster guys,” Murray said. “That’s how you get faster.”

Using that strategy, he was able to break through and placed 15th at regionals, qualifying him for state.

“I was just happy that both of us were able to make it through,” Allwein said. “Owen came out of nowhere and performed that day.”

Murray ran a time of 16:20 at the state meet, which beat out his time of 16:57 at the regional meet, but was not fast enough for him to place at the state level.

“While I didn’t get the result I wanted, the atmosphere was great,” Murray said. “I’d say it was a great last hurrah for my cross country career.”

Murray was one of two men to race that day. Allwein also competed in the Division 1 state meet.

Allwein entered the regional race and ranked 6th, making him a shoe in to qualify for the state race. However, his quest to the final meet was not as easy as he had anticipated.

Allwein suffered from a cramp about a half mile into the course and this minor injury, coupled with the muddy terrain, set him back about 10 places.

“I was ready to drop out of the race, but I got through it,” Allwein said.

Despite the setbacks, Allwein placed 9th at the meet with a time of 15:28, breaking the WHHS school record, a mark he already owned. He broke the record for the first time since his freshman year.

“It’s always great to get a new PR, after breaking the school record it’s just about getting faster and seeing how far you can push yourself,” Allwein said.

Alongside the boys successful races was the performance of Steins. Steins was the first Lady Eagle to qualify for the state competition in nine years.

“It’s pretty cool, I wish my team advanced, but they’ve been really supportive anyway,” Steins said. “They’re excited for me, and I’m just excited for the team next year.”

Steins qualified for the state meet after placing 12th at regionals, after running a time of 19:43.

“Overall the [regional] race wasn’t my best performance. It was so muddy and a slow course,” Steins said. “I wasn’t extremely happy with my time.”

Steins battled her way through the state meet, racing with a time of 19:14. Her personal record is 18:41.

“I [wanted] to break the school record, which is 18:36,” Steins said. She only trails this mark by 5 seconds, making it right within her reach.

While Steins was unable to break the record this season, she will continue running cross country next year as a SENIOR. She plans to utilize the offseason to work towards achieving her goal.

“I’m just going to train hard again,” Steins said.

Overall, these three eagles have brought honor to WHHS emblem, by bringing new life to the cross country program.

“It’s great to know that people are actually watching us,” Allwein said. “We’re leading the way for Walnut sports. It’s been awesome to put a new face on the WHHS program.”