XC Girls’ Head North to Start Season


Kelsey Hamilton, Managing Editor

On September 11th, the girls’ cross-country team kicked off their season differently than in years past. Leaving school at lunch on Friday, September 10th, 14 girls from the team flew from sunny and warmish Seattle to cloudy and frigid Anchorage, Alaska. There, they competed in the Palmer Invitation.  

The Palmer Invitation is the biggest meet in Alaska, with teams from all over the state flying in to compete. For girls’ cross-country coach Ben Sauvage, the race holds a special place in his heart. “I ran in that meet when I was in high school three times,” said Sauvage.  

Sauvage also admitted that it was a bit of a “carrot” because the ten girls who showed up to the most summer training automatically got to go to Alaska. “I hope it’s a lifetime memory,” said Sauvage, “I hope they enjoyed the beauty of Alaska…it was a really cool high school experience.”  

While the overall trip was an exciting opportunity filled with lots of fun, the mood could only be described as intense leading up to the race, with a certain quiet falling over everyone.  

The race took the girls on a loop they ran three times. Despite being a hilly and challenging 5k, the views of the mountains during the race and the feeling at the end made it more than worth it. Scarlett Ebel ’25 commented, “You know how painful the race is going to be, but at the end, you feel so proud that you did it.”  

Although never running an official race before, Emiline Beliard, ’26, finished 4th out of the entire varsity group. When asked how it went, the first words that came out of her mouth were, “so painful.”  

Elaborating on this, Beliard said, “I ran it twice before, but you don’t really know where you are in perspective to the end of the race. In the race itself, I knew I gave it my hardest…I couldn’t have gone any harder.”  

Finding the right motivation is key to success; for Beliard, it was the people. “Everyone was cheering everyone on…It was super wholesome when the Prep girls were running together because they would push each other. The sense of community that everyone had, even though we weren’t from Alaska…everyone was cheering us on, no matter if we were last or first,” said Beliard.  

Lots of memories were made during the Alaska trip. From the race to jumping into water colder than a melted glacier to the hike on Sunday, the team had a busy weekend. Through all these activities, it was evident that the most memorable part of the trip was making new connections within the cross-country community. Although seeing a moose was a close second.  

“Alaska was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that brought us together as a team and was a great way to start the season!” concluded Ebel.