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Somerset's Anya Swanson places 27th at state cross country meet

Somerset junior Anya Swanson (205) reached fourth place during the second half of the Division 2 state meet, but hit the wall in the final 300 yards, where she dropped back to 27th, but somehow was able to complete the race. 1 / 2
A sendoff was held for Anya Swanson (center) at Somerset High School last Friday as she prepared to leave for the state meet.2 / 2

The first 90 percent of the WIAA Division 2 state championship race went exactly according to plan for Somerset junior Anya Swanson.

The last 10 percent of the race was a nightmare. Somerset’s standout was running in fourth place at the state cross country race when she completely ran out of energy with 300 meters remaining. She wobbled and it appeared she might collapse, but she somehow managed to cross the finish line before needing medical assistance. She still was able to finish 27th out of the 152 runners in the girls state championship race.

Somerset coach Abby Christensen said it was a 180-degree emotional swing for everyone rooting for Swanson at the state meet.

“It went from tears of pride to tears of fear,” Christensen said. “She was running an amazing race, doing everything we talked about all week.”

Swanson spent more than 30 minutes at the medical tent, receiving an IV. Christiansen said the medical staff reported to her that Swanson was dehydrated. Christensen pointed to a couple races earlier in the season where Swanson was not at her strongest at the end of the race and said the coaches will watch this more closely in the future to see if it has been an ongoing issue.

The runner who finished fifth at the state meet had a time of 19:00. Christensen said that’s the pace Swanson had set for herself. Swanson had worked the previous week to improve her speed at the start of the race and it worked. By the 400 meter mark she was in the top 20 and by the half-mile mark she had moved into the top 10.

“We had our sites on the top 10 and she was after it. It was beautifully run race,” Christensen said.

Spectators noticed Swanson’s finish, not just because she was struggling, but because of the iron will she showed in using every ounce of strength she had to reach the finish line.

“She’s so tough; she’s a quiet tough. She’s a very humble person,” Christensen said.

Swanson has competed at state in all three of her high school seasons. She placed 14th last season and her goal was to improve upon that finish. Christensen said she expects Swanson to come back even stronger next year.

“I think this is going to ignite her fire for next year. I think it will make her want it even more,” Christensen said.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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