Monticello cross country star, Gabby Witschen has qualified to compete at the high school state tournament for her third year in a row.
This amazing feat has yet to sink in for her even after three years of achievement.
During the section meet on Thursday, Oct. 24, Gabby felt she did well, but she wasn’t sure about her ticket to state.
She was standing next to her mom and her cousin (Lexi Dehmer who ran for Becker) when she heard the good news.
“I was pretty nervous,” Gabby said. “I was pretty bummed that we couldn’t make it as a team, but pretty excited that I made it as an individual and my cousin did too! So, a big mix of emotions.”
She ran a 19:32.50, which was a personal best for her season.
Head Coach Gail Grieme said this PR was something she’s been working towards since she was in eighth grade.
“She stayed patient and she kept working hard to finally get to her best time.”
Though Gabby is happy with her personal time record, she expressed that running is more than just beating a time.
“My time has gotten better, but I don’t think that’s the big picture,” Gabby said. “There’s a lot of parts to running. It’s more mental. It’s not about cutting down time, it’s about improving mentally.”
When Gabby ties up her laces and hits the track everything else fades away.
She illustrated her love for running with wide eyes and a smile on her face.
“When I’m running everything feels right,” she said. “It doesn’t matter what kind of day I’ve had, running makes it better.”
Gabby has put in copious amounts of time and effort towards perfecting her 5k. Her time in the off season is what sets her a part.
Grieme is impressed with how disciplined Gabby is.
“What she does in the off season.. that’s what we as coaches want, we want people to get ready like she does,” Grieme said. “It’s not just summer, she really trains year round.”
Gabby leads in that way by example, but she isn’t just a strong athlete – she’s also a leader in the way that she interacts with her teammates.
Coach Grieme described the state bound runner in one word – kind. Grieme also said that she’s someone that the other girls can go to with anything.
Three years at state as an individual proves her hard work has paid off. The experienced junior said she still gets nervous, but this year her excitement trumps her nerves.
Monticello is proud to have Gabby represent the Magic at state.
“She’ll do it with class and she’ll represent the school very well, as she always does,” Grieme said. “I just want her to go out and be confident and do her best.”
“I’m proud of my school and it’s so fun to put on the jersey,” Gabby said.
The state tournament will be taking place on Saturday, Nov. 2 at St. Olaf College, so be sure to cheer on Gabby and send her words of encouragement.
Reach Jessie Meyen at firstname.lastname@example.org