Bear, Smith compete at state meet
For senior Alivia Bear, it was a surreal moment at the recent PIAA Cross Country Championships in Hershey. She and fellow senior Ava Smith both represented the Rough Riders at the meet.
This was Bear’s second consecutive trip to states, as she made her debut last year in which she finished 66th.
“I felt so good to be at states competing, and I knew I had to end the season on a high note,” said Bear, who finished 47th of 267 girls in the single-A bracket in a time of 21:32. “I was very happy with my run because I ran a minute faster than I did last year.
“I knew more of what to expect this year with how hard the course is and how many people are there.”
It was a matter of staying focused throughout the race.
“The first mile was about moving packs after the insane start,” recalled Bear. “There were so many girls on the starting line that you get boxed in immediately. I got out really fast and focused on keeping my heart rate down. The last half mile is a steep hill and them a flat straight to the finish. I was able to pass a bunch of girls in those last few minutes.”
Bear then was hit with the reality of it all.
“The adrenaline of being there and it being my last high school race really carried me through the course. I couldn’t even think about how tired I was while running because I felt so good being at states.”
Smith was somewhat satisfied with her inaugural and final race at states. She finished 97th in a time of 22:41. Like Bear, she had her own version of a surreal moment.
“I think I ran all right,” she said. “The start was definitely rough since all the girls kept climbing together, and I got stuck between a bunch of people. It was difficult to progress since I was blocked in. The end of the race went well because it was so cold, and I was really able to push myself going to the hill and sprinting. I couldn’t really feel my body anyway, which gave me an advantage passing some girls.”
Overall, though, it will be a lasting memory.
“I am satisfied with my performance even though I ran a little slow, which I was upset about,” she added. “I wasn’t too stressed, though, because I was just happy to be there.”
Both Bear and Smith are appreciative for the opportunities in the Brown and White.
“I’m so grateful for the four years I had on this team, and how much Coach Rusnock has helped me succeed,” noted Bear, who is undecided on her college choice. “I’m also satisfied with all that I have accomplished. I’m looking toward competing at the collegiate level.”
Smith also had plenty of positive moments.
“I am very sad my high school season is over since cross country brought me so many memories, friendships, and opportunities,” said Smith, who also is undecided but leaning toward West Chester or Bloomsburg. “I’m excited to use this momentum to hopefully continue my career in college.
“I’m going to use this season to keep up my motivation to train for track, and see if I can male my final track season a good one.”