The work was finished in merely qualifying for Saturday’s Class AA state championships at St. Olaf College for Northfield junior Nicole Theberath, who entered the race content to finish and celebrate afterwards.
Any place she earned, and extras gained through competing at state, were complimentary to the experience.
“I loved it, that was so cool,” Theberath said. “You get free food and all these free perks.”
On the course, Theberath finished 122nd out of 176 entrants with a time of 19 minutes, 59 seconds, which was outside of her goal of finishing within the top 100 runners.
“That’s (still) pretty good,” Theberath said. “That’s pretty close, so I can’t complain.”
That finish came after an opening mile that was faster than any she ran this season. Her personal best mile during track season is a 5:30, so when she realized her first mile at Saturday’s five-kilometer race was completed in 5:57, she was taken aback.
What might have been more surprising was the fact Theberath didn’t necessarily experience any ill effects of her rapid start.
“I didn’t feel it so I was still in control,” Theberath said.
That was perhaps helped by the number of teammates and supporters lining the course, who also lifted Theberath up on their shoulders following the race.
“I definitely will remember my teammates with all these crazy signs and having the mentality to wave at them while I was running,” Theberath said. “It kind of gives me extra energy by wasting a little bit, so that was nice.”