Schuyler cross country sent two runners to the state meet on Friday at Kearny where both sophomores Marisol Deanda and Eduardo Carrasco came seconds away from placing in the top 15 and earning a medal.
Deanda came in 18th place with a time of 20 minutes, 57 seconds, 12 seconds away from 15th place and a medal. Carrasco took 17th place with a time of 17:06 six seconds away from 15th.
The meet was both runners first experience competing in the state cross country championships.
Both runners were hoping to get a medal in the state meet, but there is optimism for the duo with two years remaining of varsity competition.
"Our goal was to get a medal," SCHS girls head coach Cortland Cassidy. "So being 18th, she wasn't very happy about it. She's pretty upset. I tell them all the time, you could get last place, nobody is going to get mad at you. We're going to love you. I told her just now, 'We have 24 hours to be mad about it together, after that we'll get back to work and show up for next year.' She's not super happy right now, but we're going to use it as motivation."
Cassidy said he believes that Deanda will carry the moment with her, and use it in training for her junior year of competition, and perhaps even later this year during the track season.
"I have zero doubt, zero doubt," he said. "She has such a calm before the storm mentality, and I have no doubt she'll come back even stronger."
Schuyler has never had a state champion in cross country, but in recent years, the measure of success is starting to change for the Warriors.
No longer is simply making the state tournament enough.
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"Our first goal was to make it to state, and if that happened our goal was to medal," Cassidy said. "To get as close as we could to medaling...the standards are definitely a lot higher for her because she knows what she's capable of. She'll show up next year and she'll kill it next year. We're not worried about her at all."
Carrasco shared similar emotions after the race.
"I thought I could do better and I'm just ready for next year," he said.
Despite Carrasco not reaching his goal, head coach Rick Carter said he was still happy with his runner's performance.
"(I felt) great (about Cassaco's performance)," he said. "He ran great. He ran fantastic. He knew he had a chance (at a medal). He ran a fantastic race, but he would have had to have some people not run as good. He's only a sophomore. He wasn't even here the first week of the season, he was in Mexico. He didn't run at all this summer."
Carter said he hopes with how this season went it adds motivation for the future.
"I think he see's what he can be," Carter said. "He could be quite something if I could get him to train during the summer. I'm excited for next year, hopefully he is too. And, hopefully, maybe some of the other people at Schuyler will realize we can do something.
"I'm just really proud of both of them, Marisol and Eduardo. They both ran great races. They're sophomores. They have two more years."
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com