This week’s Java Junkies female Student Athlete of the Week is Junior Annie Larson. The junior finished seventh at last week’s Republic County Invitational in Belleville with a 5000-meter time of 23:07 as she helped the Lady Tiger cross country team to a first-place finish. Larson has improved each week and shaved over a minute off her time at Republic County from when she finished 13th with a time of 24:20 two weeks ago at the Lady Tigers’ home meet.
Larson said of the team’s first-place finish: “We are a really young team and some of the most important things we’ve found that helps us during practice and meets is doing fun things together like getting donuts or going to Sonic after a run. While we run, we tell stories or play games on our longer runs to keep things interesting and fun. During that,I think we’ve learned our strengths and weaknesses which help us work together as a team. Most of our times are really close together so that helps us stay consistent and have a chance to do well at every meet because we are able to encourage one another as we compete.”
Larson said her personal improvement each week comes from not only being physically ready but also mentally prepared which comes from practice.“Our coach each week prepares really good workouts for us to run and throughout the season they get tougher and that just pushes us farther than we thought we could go and mentally strengthens us which helps me gain more confidence each meet.”
Annie’s personal goal for this season is to get down to the 20-minute mark while her team goals are to make it to State and then hopefully medal.
On a normal year, Larson would have qualified for the State meet last fall, but due to Covid the number of runners was limited. Larson was happy with her race because it was the best time she had run all season but also disappointed because she was so close to making it to State.
Larson added, “Being that close last year just made me realize how important it is to me and it has lit a fire in me to reach that goal so when regionals are here I’m going to push myself to achieve that goal.”
The junior is involved in FFA, student council, and choir in school, while outside of school Annie is involved in 4-H, and her church’s youth group.
As a student, she really enjoys her history class because she likes to be challenged and think critically. Her plans for life after high school are to attend Kansas State University and get a degree in elementary education.