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Girls' cross country runner of the year: Hannah Everson, Liberty
Hannah Everson can’t want to be at the bottom again. This coming from the Liberty senior who pretty much looked down from the top after finishing second among 177 runners Oct. 29 at the 5A state meet in Aurora.
Later this summer, that’s where Everson will be. Back at the bottom. Not only figuratively as a college freshman, but literally, as a new cadet at the Air Force Academy, where she’ll have to handle the physical and mental rigors of basic training.
She’s very much looking forward to June.
“It’ll be rough, but I’ll be up for it,” Everson said. “Having both parents in the Air Force, I think I’ll have somewhat of a mental advantage over some of the cadets.”
Text from the Air Force website describes cadet life as requiring dedication, sacrifice, stamina, organization, time management, and self-discipline amid mental, ethical and physical demands.
Everson, besides her upbringing by Air Force parents, received quite the athletic test at Liberty that certainly has her prepared for military life.
She started out with a fine debut season, finishing 11th at the 5A state meet in 2008. Certainly not satisfied, she pushed herself further, finishing ninth and fourth the next two years.
With the bar set so high heading into her senior year, Everson struggled with finding favorable results despite continued training to improve. While she defended her titles at the Metro League and regional events, she did so without the joy of a personal best.
While her junior season might have marked her turning point, her signature moment was yet to happen. She just didn’t know it.
“I think I had a lot of expectations going into this year,” Everson said. “Maybe it didn’t quite happen. I’m happy with how season turned out well. It ended well.”
Everson’s regular-season disappointments quickly turned into ecstasy at the 5A state meet. She found a way to improve again at the state’s challenging course, finishing second and realizing her earlier struggles had their purpose.
“Every runner has to go through a rut eventually, to get to better times,” Everson said. “I think it definitely happened to me this year. It was worth it. This was my last race and I knew I was going to stay positive and do well. I was so surprised that I was in second place at the 2-mile mark. I knew I had to give it all I had.”
And that attitude will serve her well as she enters a new phase of her life as a cadet, and later, she hopes, in the medical field, perhaps as a doctor.