Sevastopol High School junior Olivia Stenzel worked for almost the entire cross-country season to accomplish one of her two goals. In the process, she accomplished the second one.
Stenzel met her goal of breaking the 20-minute mark by finishing third in the Manitowoc Lutheran Sectional last weekend with a time of 19 minutes, 56 seconds. Her performance also qualified her for the Division 3 state meet for the third consecutive season.
“It was very satisfying breaking 20 minutes,” Stenzel said. “I was working for it all year. I was ranked sixth [in the section], but going into the race, I was aiming for first. That was a really challenging race for me. At the finish line, I had nothing left in me.”
Stenzel will head to Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids on Nov. 2 for the state meet. She finished 21st in 2017 with a time 20:27, and 20th in 2018 with a time of 20:16.
“[Qualifying for state] feels different because it is more of a relief by meeting expectations, but I wouldn’t say that it is any better or worse than previous years,” Stenzel said. “My goal is to improve from last year. It is hard to go for a place because you never know how other girls are feeling or doing. I am going to stay optimistic and take in the experience. I am just going to do my best and work harder every mile.”