Photo courtesy Brad Kahrs Delta seniors Clarissa and Cleo Whiting competed in Mesa, Ariz. in the Southwest Regional of the Nike National Cross Country Championships on Nov. 17. Both had personal best times among 214 of the best female distance runners from Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada.While most high school cross country runners were resting or preparing for a winter sport, two Delta High School runners were training and racing at the national level. On Nov. 17, with near perfect conditions, Clarissa and Cleo Whiting traveled to Mesa, Ariz. and competed in the Southwest Regional of the Nike National Cross Country Championships.
214 of the best female distance runners from Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada raced the 5000 meter course at Toka Sticks Golf Course.
Both runners sought "redemption" after what they felt was a sub-par state finals performance (Oct. 27 in Colorado Springs), and they found it! Despite the intimidation of such a large field that included state champions from five different states, both runners set personal bests, finishing just outside the desired 18:00 barrier. Cleo finished 30th with an 18:10 and Clarissa finished 38th with an 18:18. These performances show that they are ready to pursue lofty goals in spring track and compete at the collegiate level next fall.
Regarding these future goals, Cleo stated, "right now I have no earthly idea of where I will be in a year's time, but I am excited to see where the next couple of months lead me...it is scary and exciting at the same time!" Clarissa shared the desire "to be able to run for the rest of my life and definitely in college!"
In discussing their goals for next spring it is obvious that neither will rest on their laurels. They both hold very clear and lofty goals. Clarissa aims to leave her mark with school records in the 800 and 1600 and both Clarissa and Cleo are aiming for the rarified air of a sub-11 minute 3200 meter run.
All of us who have watched these two special athletes compete over the past four years know the focus, perseverance, effort, and enthusiasm they bring to the sport and anticipate grand finishes to incredible careers.