Nov. 11—Reagan Parris let the emotions hit her in full force upon crossing the finish line.
The Cold Springs senior had just wrapped up her final cross country race — earning her second Class 1A/2A state title at Oakville Indian Mounds with a personal-best time of 19:31.26 — and the thoughts that filled her heart immediately afterward made her forget all about the 3.1 miles she had just traversed.
"There were a lot of last-race vibes — having to leave this team and these girls behind," Parris said. "I've been through a lot this week with sickness and one of my close family members passing away ... and I really just ran this race for him and my team and all the hard work we've put in this season.
"I came out here and wanted to win. I used those hardships as fuel to push through and accomplish what I wanted to accomplish. I looked to God for strength and just thought about all my team, my family, my coaches and how much they've all supported me. They've always been there for me."
Parris' first-place showing spearheaded a dominant team effort for the Eagles, who took home their fifth state championship with a score of 60. Sand Rock (90) finished runner-up.
Macie Huffstutler (fourth), Paizley Whitlow (eighth), Kynzlie Myrex (24th) and Daisy Mavers (30th) contributed the other counting times for coach Casey Howell's group.
"I tell the kids all the time I truly believe our success has come from putting God first," Howell said. "They're such a special group that works so hard and cares more for their teammates than they do their own success. To see them overcome the adversity they faced this week shows how much they care for each other and the name across their chest."
Howell was particularly proud of Parris, whom he sought out following a runner-up finish at sectionals.
"She's such a sweet soul," the coach said. "I told her afterward to keep her head up and if anyone was made for this, it's you. I told her when state is over, we will be crying happy tears together."
There were indeed happy tears — from Parris, Howell and a lot of the Cold Springs runners.
The former summed it up best prior to the awards ceremony.
"This year, last year, best year," Parris said.
See below for more local capsules. The top 15 runners in each classification earned All-State honors.
Top Runners: Mabry Free (eighth), Addison Vogelaar (20th), Khloe Nalley (44th), Brantley McBrayer (65th) and Audrey Floyd (90th)
*Free's 18:43.36 set a new school record
Team: Good Hope
Top Runners: Katie Parrish (53rd)
Team: St. Bernard
Top Runners: Madi Kerber (37th)
Team: Holly Pond
Top Runners: Mila Edmondson (sixth), Caroline Lamoureux (19th), Kynleigh Wood (50th), Violet Adams (92nd) and Jayden Persall (134th)