John Champe senior and Furman commit, Bethany Graham, finally won her first state title in cross country on Saturday. She also ran the fastest time of the day on the Great Meadow course with her 17:43 clocking.
This title was a long time coming for the senior star as the past two seasons ended with injuries prior to the post-season. Despite those injuries, year after year, Bethany led the state each year and got better each year as well. This year though she culminated her season with a win at Great Meadow.
The race itself was executed perfectly. She knew she was the favorite on paper but also knew she needed to respect the speed and ability of Ocean Lake's Aniya Mosley who just weeks prior put together impressive performances at Albemarle (2nd) and MileStat XC Invite (course record).
Bethany and her coaches knew they needed to run this one alone and never give anyone a chance at walking her down the home stretch so from the gun Bethany was told to gas it and not let anyone near her.
At the mile you could hear her coach yelling - "your lead is 90 meters, you need to push it, go!"
That is exactly what she did those next two miles, kept pushing it and pushing her lead bigger and bigger. Mosley did ultimately finish second in 18:16.
Up next for Graham is the Foot Locker South regionals the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Her goal there will be first off to place top ten and qualify for nationals and secondly to win.
"I know it is a big goal but if you don't go in with big goals you're not going to achieve anything".
Not only did Graham get to experience individual victory on Saturday but she also got to celebrate with her Champe teammates on the team podium after their second place finish. That finish came after making states for their first time as a team.