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xc states2018Back row: Coach Becca Lovenheim, Eden Jackson, Allison Keefe, Jack Thomas, Catie Eisenhut, Teresa Garcia, Coach Christine Eisenhut Front row: Kinsley Jacobs, Hana Thibault, Emmy Jackson

Bobcats young and old cheered and waved as the bus pulled away from the Lansing schools last Thursday with eight runners aboard, headed to Long Island for the 2018 NYSPHSAA Cross Country Championships held at Sunken Meadow State Park. Jack Thomas '20 along with the girls team (Catie Eisenhut '20, Emmy Jackson '21, Kinsley Jacobs '23, Teresa Garcia '20, Eden Jackson '19, Hana Thibault '21 and Allison Keefe '19) were sent off by teachers, parents and classmates as they began an historic trip for the program.

Sunken Meadow is arguably one of the most challenging cross country courses on the east coast, and with heavy rains the night before and wind gusting, the best runners in the state had competition from each other as well as course and conditions. Lansing competed in the Class C races. The girls team entered seeded 5th and would finish in 6th – missing their seed position by just one point. Overall team winners of the class C races were the girls of Greenwich and the boys of Saranac Lake.

Never before has a Lansing girls cross country team won a Section IV Championship and ensured a team qualification to the state meet. Indeed, for the majority of the years that girls cross country has been contested at Lansing, there hasn't been a complete scoring team. For the last two years, the Lansing girls have been runner-up at the sectional championships. This year's sectional win and trip to Sunken Meadow was the realization of a goal several years in the making. Alumnus Mikaela Garcia '18, now a student at UCLA and the older sister of Teresa, cheered on the Bobcats on Saturday. She qualified for states three times as an individual, the only Lansing cross country athlete – male or female – to do so in those three years.

This year, Jacobs would finish 25th in a new personal best time of 20:42.8. This is the highest finish for a Lansing girl at the state meet since 2004 (by Kylee Jordan who finished 7th, 3rd, and 25th in 2002, 2003, and 2004, respectively). Consistent second-runner for the team Emmy Jackson was just two places behind her in 27th and Eisenhut broke into the top 40 with a 39th place finish. Eden Jackson was 88th, Garcia 98th, Thibault 119th, and Keefe 126th. While the team will miss the graduating seniors, this small but strong team is already looking ahead to continue to make history next season.

Junior and captain Thomas was the first Lansing boy to qualify for the cross country state championship since Ben Eisenhut in 2014. In fact, only three boys have made the trip to race the best in the state in the last ten years. Finishing in 53rd place, nearly running a personal best on a course boasting the infamous half-mile "Cardiac Hill," Thomas wrapped up a season of impressive improvements and an eye to the future.

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