Ever since fourth grade, Junior Anabella Imbornone knew she wanted to be a cross-country runner.
“I joined cross-country in fourth grade, and I’m a junior now, so that’s half of my life invested into this sport,” Imbornone said. “I live and breathe running. When I was in fourth grade, my brother was a runner, and I wanted to do it like he did because he’s always been my hero.”
Little did she know, she would one day go on to be a cross-country state champion. On Monday, Nov. 13, the girls’ cross-country team made history by becoming the first female cross-country team from St. Martin’s Episcopal School ever to win a state championship.
“We are the first girls’ cross-country team at St. Martin’s to win state, and that feels indescribably great,” Imbornone said. “We’ve worked tirelessly for months and years on end to get to this point, in season and off season.”
Senior Ally Bartholomew agreed with Imbornone that the difficult training and extensive hours the girls invested in the sport was the cause of this distinguished honor.
“Winning state wasn’t something that we just decided to do—the vast majority of our team has worked day in and day out for three years straight,” Bartholomew said.
This goal didn’t spring up recently, according to Head Boys and Girls Cross Country Coach Warren Lind.
“When they got second place two years ago, on the bus ride home, the girls were already planning how they were going to win the state championship.”
Despite the nerves the girls might have had prior to the race, they didn’t let the pressure get to them.
“I actually didn't get super stressed until a couple minutes before the race, and then I felt like all the emotions just hit me at once,” Bartholomew said. “(Senior) Chloe (Bartholomew) grabbed my hand and told me that we couldn’t expect it to be easy, but we did have to go out and get it. She calmed me down, and after that, we put on our game faces and did what we had to do.”
Imbornone approached the race as if it were no different from any other and remained confident that the team would be successful in showcasing their talents.
“As for competing under the pressure, we just looked at it as if it were just another chance to prove to ourselves what we knew we could do,” Imbornone said. “We took all of our hard work and put it to good use. We wanted a chance to show the community what we were capable of, how hard we work for our accomplishments, and that it really takes a lot of dedication to do what we do.”