November 23, 2021
Photo courtesy of Sydney Klinglesmith
Placing in the top ten at the state meet, Westfield Girls Cross Country has marked its place as one of the best in the state of Indiana.
Underestimated from the beginning, the Lady Rocks were ranked 36th in preseason rankings, according to inccstats.com. This only fueled the team to push harder and prove everyone wrong— and they did.
Senior Samantha Taylor believes part of the motivation was the drive to be the best.
“At the beginning of the season, [Coach] Whitney told us that she was going to take us to the state meet. Though we didn’t believe her at first, we bought into her training,” Taylor said. “We pushed and battled each other every day in practice; no one wanted to be left behind. We all tried to run the best we could every day in practice, and we competed to beat each other in many workouts. In this way, our determination to be the best really fueled our training and helped us compete with other teams better than ever before.”
A change to the team this year was a new head coach. A former Westfield cross country alumni and an Olympic marathon qualifier, Whitney Bevins had the credentials for the job.
Pushing the girls harder than ever before, barriers were broken for runners like junior Sydney Klinglesmith.
“[Whitney’s] workouts were so long and tough that I struggled sometimes and maybe hated her for it in the moment, but looking back I would be nowhere close to where I am today without her coaching,” Klinglesmith said. “Whitney always believed in our team even when we haven’t always believed in ourselves. She refuses to let us give up on ourselves and she’s such a personal coach. She makes efforts to reach out and check on many of the girls, which I think is really special. I also love that Whitney runs workouts with us— what separates good coaching from great coaching in my opinion. Her passion for running is so evident in all that she does and it makes me aspire to be that way.”
With the influx of drive and increased training, girls cross country was performing better than they had in a while. Despite the doubts from others, the team was accomplishing new triumphs and refused to be underestimated. The team’s hard work paid off by making it to state, an accomplishment that had not been achieved by Westfield girl’s cross country in five years. Coach Bevins credits this all to the girls.
“ [The team] believed [they] could,” Bevins said.
Westfield has become a powerhouse in Indiana cross country, placing eighth overall in the state. The girls showed their toughness and endurance, which all paid off during their journey. Sophomore Elizabeth Smith mentions the team effort to get there.
“As soon as I crossed the line, I relied on my teammates to keep racing how we’ve raced all year, which was with grit and aggression on the course,” Smith said.