McNatt, Tigers working to finish among state’s best


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Holy Trinity eighth-grader Carly McNatt, shown here with boys No. 1 runner Matthew Allen, is hoping she can turn what she learned last year into a state championship run.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

If the Holy Trinity girls cross country team finishes third or higher at this year’s Class 1A state championship meet, the Tigers might want to think back to a trip they made this summer.

“Our team took a trip to North Carolina and we did a lot of training on hills, and I think that really prepared me especially since at state they have this huge hill called, ‘The Wall,’” Holy Trinity eighth-grader Carly McNatt said. “It just helped me prepare because those are really grueling hills.”

McNatt, who finished sixth in the state last season, wants to add her name to the illustrious list of Tigers who have won an individual state championship.

But with a talented, young group of runners behind her, Holy Trinity has a chance to finish in at least the top three in the team category as well.

Senior team captain Sasha Wiechicki Vergara is Holy Trinity’s No. 2 runner, followed by seventh-grader Braelyn Wahy, seventh-grader Ivy Knight, freshman Julia McNatt, eighth-grader Gabriela Shenbaum and seventh grader Lani Watt.

Tigers coach Anthony Sullivan described one particular part of the camp in North Carolina – known as the Graduation Mile -- as being tough on the runners because it is “literally one mile straight up hill. It flattens out for about 20 meters and that’s about it.”

Training on hills was just one of the improvements McNatt has made in preparation for this season. And already, her time of 18:31 is the third best overall in the state.

“I think it was a good learning experience more than anything else,” Sullivan said of McNatt’s seventh-grade season.

“She didn’t run summer last year, so she was able to put in that work this year and learn from that experience. Last year, we had no idea what her true potential was, so we kind of had her just go out as hard as she wanted and see what happened.

“This year, we’re going to be more strategy based and have her actually race it rather than just run it.”