Kirtland junior Konnor Duncan and freshman Julie Namciu both made surprising runs to the Division III regional cross country meet, but their seasons ended on Saturday at Boardman High School in Youngstown.
Duncan finished 52nd overall with a time of 18:20 while Namciu was 49th in 22:13.
“It was a great experience to be a part of that level of competition that exists at the regional level,” Duncan said. “I was not expecting to even go to regionals this year, so I am happy with my performance because of that and the non-ideal course and weather.”
For Duncan, whose ran a season-best 17:57 earlier in the year, the regional meet inspired him to set the bar even higher for next season.
“I hope next year I can bring a few teammates with me to regionals and run below an 18 there as well,” he said.
Namciu peaked at the right time this season as she got stronger and faster during the postseason.
“The competition at regionals was by far the toughest competition I’ve run against this season,” she said. “I thought it was a good experience for me because now I know what I should expect from next year’s competition.”
The cold temperatures and slick course slowed all the runners down, but Namciu will use her time as motivation to train even harder in the offseason.
“I was a little bit disappointed with my time because in my last race I got 20:56 and in this race I finished in the 22s, but now I know I just have to push myself harder,” she said. “I am okay with my place because the competition was very good and it was my first regionals. I know I could have done better but I just have to train harder.”
Namciu ran her season-best time at the district meet and she’s looking forward to pushing the pace during her sophomore year.
“I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I never thought I was a good runner until now. I am hoping to get better and make it to regionals again next year. I am going to improve for next year by training more in the offseason and I am going to keep on doing more races.”