Rawlings qualifies for state meet

Published 9:45 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2019

King’s Fork cross country standout runner Madeline Rawlings has qualified for the Class 4 state meet.

The King’s Fork High School cross country team competed in the Class 4A region meet last week. Both groups had some strong finishes but were able to qualify only one runner for the state meet. Rawlings placed 15th in the girls’ race and is the first female runner at King’s Fork to qualify for the state meet.

“To say I’m pleased is an understatement,” Coach Steve Sheppard said. “I’m so very proud of this young lady, as this is the reward for keeping focused and being determined after a major setback that would have held back an average athlete. Her teammates were ecstatic for her during the award ceremony as it was officially announced that she qualified for state, and the meet director even mentioned to the crowd assembled, that Madeline is the first girl in school history to qualify — a nice touch.”

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For Rawlings, it has been a remarkable story over the course of a year. In October 2018, she ruptured her ACL. She rehabbed the injury and worked her way back to the outdoor season of track even though she ran carefully. During the summer, Rawlings logged the most workouts of anyone on the team, including the boys, which included the weight room, runs and cross-training, which all led to her strong fall season.

“She attended every single morning pool workout that we held, was in the weight room and working hills, and doing speedwork at the front of the girls and many of the boys as well,” Sheppard said. “She did this while serving her teammates as co-captain along with senior Lexi Kyles of the girls’ team. She trusted the training program, pushed herself, and was rewarded for it.”

As a team, the girls placed eighth at regionals. The team average was 22:28, which was the fastest in school history. The Bulldogs return six of their top 10 girls for next season.

On the boys’ side, they placed seventh as a team with Jack Van Straten leading the way. Van Straten was only a couple spots from qualifying for states as an individual and ran a very impressive all-time personal best of 17:18. Sheppard is excited about the future with the boys’ team.

This will make the second straight year for King’s Fork to be represented in the state meet. It will be held on Saturday at The Plains.