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Coberly finishes in top half of state XC field

Solon senior Trisha Coberly (center, No. 466) pushes to stay ahead of the pack, at the state cross country meet. Coberly finished in the upper half of the 168-girl field, in her first experience at the crowded Class 3A meet. (photo by Joe Wilkinson)

By Joe Wilkinson
Special to the Economist

FORT DODGE– Three years ago, Trisha Coberly wasn’t even on the team. Last weekend, she was Solon’s lone runner at the state cross country meet.
In her third year of competition, Coberly made the Class 3A field, and finished 68th of the 139 girls (in 20:49) over the rolling hills at Kennedy Park near Fort Dodge. She earned the berth through her sixth-place finish earlier in the month at the state qualifying meet. This is the first season Iowa high school girls have run 5 kilometers in competition.
It didn’t come without a few bumps and jockeying for position. “Trisha was knocked around at about 600 meters. She recovered, but that kind of plays with your mind the rest of the race,” noted coach Emy Williams. “She still finished strong; had a good time. At state, though, everybody running is good. The (groups of) runners are compact. You have people around you the whole time.”
That pressure is hard to replicate in practice, though some of Coberly’s teammates were up to the task. Sophomore Sophie Nicol and freshman Erin Kerkhoff— who with Coberly went 1-2-3 for Solon through the regular season— trained with her, and showed up at state to walk the course with her and then cut across the course with other fans to pick up the runners as they came by.
“We had a few other random people show up through the week to work alongside her, too,” noted Williams. “You don’t want to run by yourself. Hopefully, too, they’ll be hungry for next year. Even just going to state gives you an idea of what to expect if you go.”
Sophomore Julia Schumacher of Davenport Assumption was the overall Class 3A winner, sprinting to a 19:01 finish. Her school won its first team championship as well, with 131 points. Pella (145) edged Dubuque Wahlert (146) for second in Class 3A.