After a lengthy time away from the cross country finals, the Avon girls’ cross country team has made the arduous return journey to the state finals now in back-to-back seasons. The Orioles had not made the finals as a team since 2000, until a determined season last year began to turn things around.
Led by a strong senior class with a few standout underclassmen, Avon placed 13th. And while the Orioles are certainly honored to return to the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute today, Avon has larger aspirations in their mind.
“As a team they set the goal of being a top five finisher at state this season,” Avon coach Brad Rosebrock said. “But after some injuries, I think it’s realistic to say we would really like to improve on our finish of last season and we are shooting for somewhere in the top 10.”
Senior runners Victoria Collins and Mikala Hillis both went down with injuries, leaving some gaps to fill. Hillis was Avon’s top finisher at state last season.
Returning from that state squad from last year is sophomore sensation Malyka Abramson, Courtney Kerr, Kelsie Mothersead and Megan Price.
Abramson has led the Orioles all season and set a blistering pace in the postseason with wins at sectional, regional and semistate. In what is possibly the toughest semistate in Indiana at Carmel, Abramson blew past the competition, finishing over 18 seconds ahead of second place.
While Abramson has run extremely well, the competition at the state finals is stiff near the top.
“What Malyka has done is pretty amazing,” Rosebrock said. “Obviously, she is running really well. I really think if you go off of times, she is definitely a top five runner. I know she has aspirations of not finishing in the top 15 or top 10 and she is definitely gunning for a top five, if not third spot.