FORT DODGE – Shenandoah’s Brenna Godfread and Sarah Gilbert both beat their previous best state meet time, placing 54th and 80th, Saturday, Nov. 2 at the state cross country meet.
Running at the state meet for the third time as a junior, Godfread crossed the line in 21 minutes, 4 seconds, to finish 54th. Her time was 1:13 faster than last year and nine seconds better than what she finished in two years ago as a freshman.
“Brenna ran very well,” Shenandoah coach Liz Skillern said. “She went out fast at the start, kept her place and kept her pace. I was very happy with how she ran.”
“I wanted to get out fast,” added Godfread. “Coach said the faster you get out, that’s considered your place. I tried to keep up with a girl in a blue shirt that I ran with at state qualifying.”
Saturday marked the first time Godfread had been healthy going into the state meet.
“(Godfread) had forgotten she wore a boot to the state meet two years in a row,” said Skillern. “She’s not really outspoken, but leads by example. She had some young, impressionable freshmen here. She needed to stay focused and bring them along and she did.”
Godfread will now have a chance next year to be the 10th athlete in program history to qualify for four state meets.
“I love having an athlete like Brenna,” said Skillern. “She works hard, perseveres, and sets her goals high.”
Gilbert finished 80th in a final time of 21:34, an impressive 44 seconds than what she ran last year as a freshman.
“I would have liked a little better time and place,” Gilbert said, “but I did pretty well.”
“(Gilbert) was hurting a little bit and was disappointed with how she ran,” added Skillern, “but she ran 44 seconds faster than last year, I can’t ask for more than that. I believe she had a little more if she wasn’t hurting.”
Gilbert fell just short of a personal best time of 21:21, which she said was her goal, but she continued to try to move forward during the race.
“I just wanted to stay with the pack and move up as much as I could,” said Gilbert. “It was hard, but I was trying to pick off as many as I could. The goal is to come back next year.”
Gilbert didn’t even run for three weeks during the season, and Skillern said if (Gilbert) can stay healthy going forward, next year could be huge.
“(Gilbert) has a lot of drive,” said Skillern, “and a lot of talent. She is capable of so much more.”
Godfread and Gilbert were cheered on by many of their teammates during the meet, three of them being freshmen. Skillern said it was huge for the younger girls to get a taste of the state meet.
“I keep telling them when they come back next year,” said Skillern. “They were starting to figure out what they needed to do (late in the year) and were gelling as a team. They were able to look at the state meet and have that bonding time.”
The Fillies lose just two seniors in Lydia Morales and Hannah Mulligan. They will return their top six runners from the state qualifying meet.