Albemarle cross country runner Allison Huschke will try to finish up a strong senior season when the Patriots compete in the state championships Saturday at Great Meadow.
In August, Huschke won her second consecutive Ragged Mountain Cup individual title, and Albemarle took the team title. Last weekend, she finished fifth at regionals, leading her team back to the state championships.
Huschke competed at states as a freshman and sophomore, but missed last year because a stress fracture in her foot prematurely ended her season.
"It's awful to sit on the sidelines and just watch everyone run, because you know you're not contributing and you feel bad," Huschke says. "You have to be patient coming back, otherwise you could get injured again."
Huschke's patience has paid off in her senior season, but her coach was not surprised to see her return as successfully as she has.
"She is the most consistent athlete I've ever coached, in terms of being at practice every day, ready to go, ready to work her hardest," says Albemarle cross country coach Cathy Coffman. "She has run number one for Albemarle cross country for four years. She didn't necessarily start out right there as a freshman, but by the end of her freshman year, she was definitely running number one, and she's run number one for four years."
Huschke has also displayed consistency in the classroom. She has been a commonwealth district academic scholar every season of her high school career. She is currently enrolled in four Advanced Placement courses and two honors courses, and maintains a 4.3 grade point average.
The senior will run in her third and final state championship this weekend, along with her Patriots teammates. As a sophomore, she placed ninth individually and led her team to a sixth place finish, their best performance in 29 years.
"My hope for every one of them, and especially for Allison, is just to go out with a bang, and to be really pleased with their performance at the state meet," Coffman says.
Huschke, who is thankful to be back on the course after spending last year on the sidelines, says she doesn't want to focus too much on the finality of the state meet.
"I'm going to try not to think about that before the race, because it could mess up my pre-race mentality, thinking that it's my last state race," she says. "But I think it will also push me to go faster, since it is the last race."