October 27, 2011

Essler cross country state champ

Essler cross country state champ
By STU MERRY

A beacon of light shines from Garrison High School. That light comes in the form of a petite blonde. That beacon is freshman Robyn Essler, and she’s North Dakota’s Class B state champion in cross country. Robyn won the title this past Saturday in Fargo.
It’s a season that was more than she ever expected. The turning point came this spring when Robyn choose between cross country/track and volleyball. Recalling on how well she did in track this past spring and how much she’s enjoyed and succeeded in cross country, she’s thinks she made the right choice.
“Focusing on one sport made a big difference,” she said.
Where before, when she was a two-sport athlete and basically had to practice on her own, she was now able to work out with the team. She said that was a good feeling.
As the season progressed, Robyn challenged herself as workouts became harder. She quickly learned she had more motivation and mental stamina. That motivation and stamina paid off at state.
Speculating it would come down to a race between her (No. 1 in the state) and Chandra Yankton (No. 2 in the state) of Dunseith, Robyn said she ran a mental race against her in her mind. Then, out of nowhere came Asha Smith of Watford City who shot up in the rankings the last couple weeks of the season. The focus and strategy changed. Now, Robyn was running the mental race against Asha.
Robyn lead throughout. Asha was close behind as the finish line neared. The last 10 meters the two were neck and neck. The adrenaline kicked in and that motivation and stamina boiled to the top.
“Once I felt her coming, I put the pedal to the floor and went for it,” she said.
Robyn was state champion. Wow!
She confided that no one has crept up behind her like that before. She believed in herself that she would be up for the challenge. With her energy, she said she knew she could maintain the lead.
A cross country race is long – 4,000 meters or 2.48 miles. Runners hit walls as the race progresses. Robyn credits her family for knowing where those walls are, and when Robyn passed, she was encouraged to forge on.
 


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