FORT DODGE — Interstate 35 senior Holly McKinney put in a lot of hard work in order to achieve her dream.
She might have achieved that goal on Oct. 24 when she qualified for the State Cross Country Meet, but it didn’t really come to life until Saturday, when she toed the starting line here at the State Cross Country Meet.
McKinney’s dream was to be a four-time state meet qualifier.
“It’s kind of like a dream come true, honestly,” she said after her race. “You start off as a freshman and you’re new, and you want to make it to state so bad. After that first time, I wanted to make it more and more. I love running up here — all the spectators and all my friends. It makes everything worth it.”
The Roadrunner senior finished 63rd, running a time of 16:51.1. McKinney spent the early part of the race hovering around 25th place, and sat in 30th at the 2-mile mark, but faded in the final half mile.
It wasn’t quite the finish she was looking for, but she was still proud of her accomplishment.
“I was ranked 27th coming into this race, so I wanted to beat that,” McKinney said. “It didn’t happen today, but I’m glad I got to run here today.
“The first mile felt good. I felt strong. Then I got some cramps and kind of psyched myself out. I finished, and that’s what matters.”
McKinney was greeted at the finish line by a large fan club that included teammates, friends and family.
“I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and coaches,” McKinney said. “They’re like family for me.”
“Holly had a lot of support and a lot of fun Saturday,” Interstate 35 cross country coach Desman Oakley said. “We filled the van with teammates and friends, so Holly was surrounded by friends and family as she ran.”
McKinney still has one more cross country race left in her high school career, as she’ll compete in the Senior All-Star Meet Saturday in Ankeny on the DMACC campus.
“I still have one more race, so I’m still holding out,” she said. “I can’t believe it’s coming to an end. It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s gone by fast and it’s been fun. It’s going to be fun, I think (running in the all-star meet). Just kind of like the cherry on top. The best close to a season.”
“Her ultimate goal of qualifying four times came to fruition,” Oakley said. “She is a great representative of our team, school and community.”
State Cross Country Meet
Individual leaders — 1. Grace Gibbons, Gilbert, 14:28.6; 2. Becca McDermott, Cascade, 15:01.4; 3. Allison Higgins, Greene County, 15:04.7; 4. Carly Rahn, Gilbert, 15:09.5; 5. Miranda Moss, Sioux Center, 15:14.7; 6. Kassidy DeJong, Unity Christian, 15:20.3; 7. Dondi Schmidt, Spirit Lake, 15:21.8; 8. Sadie Timms, Gilbert, 15:22.7; 9. Adriana Kammerer, Iowa City Regina, 15:23.6; 10. Kenedie Kats, Western Christian, 15:24.2.
Interstate 35 — 63. Holly McKinney, 16:51.1.