Wiley finishes sixth at Cross Country State Finals

Wiley finishes sixth at 2020 IHSAA Girls Cross Country State Finals
Posted on 11/03/2020
Addison Wiley smiles on the podium with her sixth-place medal after the 2020 IHSAA Girls Cross Country State FinalsHuntington North junior Addison Wiley capped her cross country season on Saturday, claiming a sixth-place finish with a time of 18:25.9 at the 2020 IHSAA Girls Cross Country State Finals at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Indiana.

The outcome gave Wiley her second consecutive IHSAA Girls Cross Country All-State recognition, as she scored a 10th-place finish (18:28.6) at the 2019 meet.

However, although Wiley’s placement was again within the top 10, she accomplished the feat this year using the complete opposite strategy as she did in 2019.

After holding strong in the top five throughout the majority of last year’s race, Wiley was passed by a handful of runners late to slip back to 10th place by the finish line. Wiley took that experience to heart and opted to be the one passing other runners down the homestretch this time around.

Wiley added she wanted to focus on utilizing her speed, which she noted is her biggest strength as a runner, late in the race in order to have success on Saturday. Given her strategy heading into the meet, Wiley was pleased with how the race ended up unfolding.

“(The race) honestly lined up perfectly with what I was trying to do, so I was really happy about how that went,” Wiley said.

Despite the race largely going according to plan, Wiley was surprised at how quick the pace was out of the gate, falling back in the pack more than she had anticipated.

After the first mile of the race, Wiley sat in 25th place, but gradually worked her way up the standings in the second and third miles, moving up to the top 20 and top 15 before surging in the final kilometer for her sixth-place finish.

“The first (kilometer) I was a little bit nervous,” Wiley said. “Everybody got out really fast and I was a bit nervous about how far back I was, but I just stayed calm. And then through the second (kilometer), things started to spread out, and then on the fourth and fifth (kilometers), it was just pick off every girl one by one and just focus on the next runner out in front of you. That fifth (kilometer), it was just all I had left and to get as many places as I could and that’s what I did.”

Huntington North girls cross country head coach Carrie Boxell echoed Wiley’s sentiments, stating her pleasure with how Wiley performed in the State Finals.

Boxell also made note of the reversed strategy for this year’s race and was proud of how well Wiley executed it.

“Addy had an excellent performance and it was exciting to watch it all play out throughout the race,” Boxell said. “She was focused on her race and how she wanted to run it to perform her best race on this day. Being this was her second state cross country appearance, she was able to use her past experience to help her with this one. Addy knew she went out too fast in the beginning, which made it harder for her to tackle the second and third mile last year. The state cross country meet is not only on a winding course, but it is uphill after the first mile. This year, she knew she did not want to start off as fast as she did last year because she wanted to have more left and feel more comfortable at tackling the second and third mile going uphill. Her game plan played out pretty much as planned.”

The Lady Vikes’ coach pointed out the team had a motto of “every place counts” throughout the postseason, but Wiley always preferred the motto of “every place matters.” As such, Wiley’s teammates were sure to yell Wiley’s version of the motto to encourage her throughout the race. It was only fitting that Wiley’s motto ended up perfectly describing her performance.

Boxell was also quick to recognize the magnitude of Wiley’s accomplishment on the course, noting Wiley’s sixth-place outcome is among the best Huntington North has ever seen.

“Cross country is a one-class system that feeds every runner across the state into one tournament,” Boxell said. “If you think about the tournament series, only so many runners make it past each weekend for four weeks in a row. … Therefore, when you arrive at the state cross country meet, you have the best of the best teams and individual runners. There were 205 runners in the state cross country race and Addy was sixth overall. At the state meet, they recognize the top 20 runners overall on the podium and it is a great honor to receive those medals. Addy has accomplished not just top 20, but being in the top 10 for two years in a row. This is an accomplishment that not many runners can claim.”

Wiley’s sixth-place outcome put the finishing touches on a successful season that also saw her claim the Marion Sectional (18:22.7) and Regional (17:56.8) individual titles before recording a fourth-place showing (18:26.1) at the New Haven Semi-State.

Karina James, a junior from Lowell, earned the individual state title on the girls side, clocking in at 18:00.1, while Carmel claimed the girls team state championship with a score of 52 points. Angola’s Izaiah Steury, also a junior, scored the individual crown in the boys race by stopping the clock at 15:23.7, while Columbus North ran away with the boys team title with a mark of 63 points, 49 points clear of second place.
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