The 2015 KHSAA state cross country championships took place this past Saturday, November 7, at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. Coverage area runners participated in five of the day’s six races, and one runner was able to come away with a state championship title.
Williamsburg freshman Selena Mattingly won the girls’ Class A race with a time of 18:52.87. The day after winning her state title she took the time to answer a few questions about the experience, as well as what the future holds for her in the months and years ahead.
NJ: First of all, congratulations on your championship victory.
SM: Thank you.
NJ: You finished third place in the Class A state championship meet your seventh and eighth grade years. Coming into this year’s meet, did you feel like this was finally going to be your time to make it to the top?
SM: I wasn’t sure, but my coach had a lot of confidence that it was going to be my year. My teammates had a lot of confidence in me as well, so I just went out there and tried my best to make it happen.
NJ: Obviously that worked out for you. Could you talk a little bit about what the race itself was like?
SM: I tried to get out to a lead fast. I was about a half-mile in and I thought the other girls would start coming up and running along with me. That didn’t happen, though. I was surprised that I had been in the lead for so long. Nobody really came up until the two-mile, but other than that I led the race the whole time. That was really surprising to me. It wasn’t what we planned on.
NJ: Can you describe what it felt like when you crossed the finish line and knew that you were a state champion?
SM: I don’t really know. The first thing I did was look for Coach Harris. I was just overwhelmed about the fact that nobody ever passed me. It didn’t really sink in until later, but I was just really excited.
NJ: Not only are you now a state champion, but you are also the first-ever cross country runner from Williamsburg to gain that achievement. How does that feel?
SM: It makes me really proud. Our school has been runner-up at state in football twice. We went to the Sweet 16 in basketball last year. Now we have a state champion in cross country. It’s just great to know that Williamsburg is growing and succeeding in athletics.
NJ: You and Head Coach John Harris have worked very hard together to make this championship win a reality. What did he say to you after the race Saturday?
SM: He just ran up to me, hugged me, and said, “You did it!”
NJ: Only being a freshman, you are going to have a few more chances to hopefully repeat this accomplishment. What do you have to do moving forward in order to stay at the top of your game?
SM: Obviously, I have to continue to work on growing and get faster. I can’t slow down, because there are going to be other young runners who are going to come up and try to challenge me for the top spot next year.
NJ: Anything you would like to say to anybody in the Williamsburg community who is sharing in this state championship victory with you?
SM: I thank my coach most of all for pushing me and helping me to get to this point. I thank my family and my team for believing in me and always being there for me. Also, thank you to the community for congratulating me and making me feel proud of this accomplishment.
NJ: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us.
SM: Thank you.
Mattingly will now begin to shift her focus to the spring of 2016, where she hopes to help the Lady Jackets track and field team return to state competition. The News Journal will continue to report on Mattingly’s progress as she continues her already accomplished high school athletics career.