On Oct. 24, William Monroe Middle School student Samantha Nitzsche is the school’s first cross country state champion.
Nitzsche earned the award at the Virginia Middle School Cross Country State Championship at Pole Green Park in Mechanicsville. The seventh-grader not only finished in first place but made a statement by completing the 4K race with a time 14:14.9—finishing more than 45 seconds ahead of her closet competitor, besting the previous course and meet records and identifying her as the fastest middle-school girl on record in the state of Virginia.
“With all of the success she has had this season, she has continued to stay humble,” said coach Rachel Freid. “She always shows up ready to work and determined to improve.”
Nitzsche said she felt like she had completed a great accomplishment by winning the state championship.
“Each time I run I put forth my best effort and try for my best time,” she said. “I hope to meet competition that will challenge me to meet my full potential as I move toward high school.”
Freid said throughout season, Nitzsche dominated the field, winning numerous invitationals and meets and breaking two more records at meet held at Fork Union Military Academy—including one that was set in 2014.
During one race at Fork Union, Nitzsche took an early lead, but was being passed by a competitor toward the end of the race. Freid said Nitzsche had spent that previous week working on strategies for running hills with coach Jonathan Snowden and used that knowledge to pull ahead and win the race.
In the state championship, Nitzsche took the lead and never looked back.
“We are excited to see what the future holds for her,” Freid said.