There is a new name you should know in VA and that is junior Kayla Werner. She was the winner of last weekend's club 5K at Pole Green Park with her 18:23 clocking. That time ranks 22nd all-time on the course and is the second fastest time run there in September.
Her time says a lot about her ability but what is even more of a story is who she beat in the process of running that time. That list included five state champions in Alli Crytser, Ava Gordon, Ricky Fetterolf, Arianna Deboer, and Carly Wilkes who was second place in the race.
Overall, all five of those ladies and quite a few others ran stellar times for their first race back in nearly half a year. That bodes well for them moving forward and should translate to sub 18 performances when they race the upper course in October.
So where did Kayla come from?
She moved here recently from Maine for her father's job as a professor at Liberty University. That move helped land her a spot on the Pacers Homeschool team which has produced Foot Locker Finalists in the past. In her post-race interview Kayla mentioned how much she enjoyed being a part of the team both for its family-like-feel but also for its root in faith-based-athletics. Something she shares in common with another homeschool star, Michaela Rose.
Kayla's coach Jake Reed was quick to note that she was going to be a big star this season by emailing us throughout the summer to keep an eye on her this XC season. Coach Reed's best praise of her though was how she is a positive affect on the entire team and helping all of the athletes achieve their own specific goals.