Hess, Galbraith, Kuykendall grateful

Sentinel photos by JEFF FISHBEIN
Mifflin County’s Joy Galbraith crosses the finish line at the meet.

HERSHEY — Brie Hess made the final run of her high school cross country career Saturday. The Greenwood senior, a two-time state qualifier in Class A was among the first 100 across the line in her race at Hershey’s Parkview Course.

Mifflin County juniors Joy Galbraith and Lauren Kuykendall also made it to the show, running in Class 3A. None of the three girls was able to capture medal status, but all three said after Saturday’s meet that they were grateful for the opportunity and the experience.

“Since this is my first year actually racing, I was here more to experience it. I liked it,” Kuykendall said.

“I was just aiming to get out fast and get a place in there so I wasn’t stuck in the back,” Galbraith said. “That was my goal.”

Galbraith was first of the two Huskies to finish the 3.1-mile course, running 20:55. That put her at 136th. Kuykendall was in 171st place when she crossed, with a time of 21:22.

All the runners find this race — run on a former golf course famous for its elevations and a meandering stream.

“I thought it was challenging,” Kuykendall said.

“The first mile was really scary. Everyone’s just elbowing each other and there’s a wall of people in front of you,” Galbraith said. “You can’t see where you’re going.

“I liked the last mile — that was my favorite part. The part I didn’t like? After the first mile there’s a steep downhill that was swampy and wet,” she said. “I thought I was going to fall. But I didn’t.”

Galbraith stated her goals not only for coming back, but for better position. She is looking forward to spring track, but also to off season training and weightlifting.

“All the little pieces put together,” she said.

“I guess I’m going to look more at competition and have better goals than just seeing where I’m at,” Kuykendall said. “I usually have a better kick at the end. Since this is my first year I guess I’ll be OK with it.”

Hess has run with an unofficial team, which will change at the Perry County school next fall.

“I just think it’s really cool that we get to have a team for next year. I hope I can help them,” she said.

Her last run was 21:46, a personal best by 10 seconds, and she was 97th overall in her race.

“It was really exciting just having everyone supporting me and pushing me in the district meet to get here — so many people,” she said.

The girls Class A race is the first of the day, meaning the course was an unknown more so than with the later groups.

“It was a little muddy and cold but it wasn’t too bad,” she said. “It’s a really cool course to run on.”

And, she said, she was happy with her time: “For this course, yeah.”