by Lisa Hinton-Valdrighi
Everything sorta fell into place the morning of the biggest race in Hailey Smith’s cross country career.
“I was stretching and just looked down and there it was, a four-leaf clover,” said the 17-year-old Lancaster High School senior. “And when I used to visit my grandpa, we had to pass train tracks and trains always reminded me of him. Right before the race started, the train whistle blew. I’d also had a heartfelt talk with coach [James] Timm before the race. Everything felt right.”
The lucky clover and all those positive vibes certainly didn’t hurt, but more than likely it was years of dedication to the sport and countless hours of training that led Hailey to claim the Class 1 state cross country girls championship November 13 on a 3.1-mile course in Virginia’s mountains. She beat two-time medalist Morgan Dalton of George Wythe by 13 seconds, which is pretty significant in the running world.
Hailey was the individual champion of the girls state race with a time of 20:09.10 at Green Hill Park in Salem. She is Lancaster High’s first cross country champion.
“Mentally, I felt really strong and ready for….[to-view-more]