Our Rome High School Cross-Country Wolves have been busy this season leading the pack and are now preparing to travel to Carrollton High School this Saturday to take on the last meet of the 2021 season, the GHSA State Championship Meet.
After finishing third at the Region 5-AAAAAA Championship in Whitesburg, Ga., the Wolves came home hungry and ready to attack the next few weeks of training for the State Championship.
This week, Head Coach of the Wolves, Nick Bridges, and Assistant Coach, Kevin “KP” Paulk, have been busy ensuring all athletes are well-rested and mentally prepared for Saturday’s events.
“We have been trying to rest our bodies as much as possible this week, outside of running at practice,” explained Cai Sabino, junior at RHS and Wolves’ Team Captain. “We have also been focusing on eating healthy, getting at least eight hours of sleep, and drinking lots of water.”
“We are really focusing on making sure everyone is rested up and getting our minds right before the meet on Saturday,” concurred Bridges. “Either way, this weekend is going to be fun.”
Lucia Loarca and Hillary Martinez, Rome High XC Team Captains and sole seniors, were both excited about spending one last time with their team, who have become like family.
“I am looking forward to having the team together one last time,” smiled Loarca. “It’s going to be a bittersweet moment, but I am excited to spend it with them.”
Martinez echoed those same sentiments, “Since this is my last time running cross-country, I am looking forward to just having fun with my team and working hard towards our goals. We have been training really hard this entire season, and with Coach Bridges and KP’s leadership, I know we will do great this weekend as well.”
According to Bridges, the team set forth expectations of “racing with confidence” at the beginning of the season and have worked hard to keep those same expectations afloat throughout.
“We have gone into all of our meets with the same expectations, which is just for our kids to race with confidence. They have completely bought into this new culture and that alone makes me proud of our athletes,” said Bridges. “We have flown under the radar for long enough. These kids are most definitely going to fly this weekend.”
The smile on the entire team’s faces were enough to show how motivated these student athletes truly are.
“I am really excited about this weekend,” said Sabino, who will be racing at the State Meet for the first time this Saturday. “We are all ready to race, we are all ready for state, and we are just ready to have fun and run fast. I love each and every one of these guys and I am so proud of the work we have all put in this season. It’s going to pay off this weekend.”
Loarca recently broke the overall Rome High School personal record during the Region Championship last weekend. The previous record set was 19.27 and currently, it sits at 19.23. She is looking forward to potentially PRing again this weekend, while making her school and team proud.
“State is a pretty tough course to PR on, but I do feel prepared and have trained hard this season,” said Loarca. “If I can come out of this meet with a new personal record, that would have to be one of my greatest accomplishments of my running career so far.”
One thing that these Wolves are most proud of, outside of their amazing accomplishments, is the bond they have created with their teammates and coaches.
“My hope is that our team carries on this ‘family’ tradition that we have worked to establish this year,” smiled Martinez. “I also hope that these athletes continue learning and growing from our coaches and continue this success for years to come.”
Good luck to our Cross-Country Wolves this weekend at the State Meet!! We are so proud of you