Pam Chickering placed no pressure on her Camden High girls’ cross country team heading into last Saturday’s AAA state championship held at Clemson’s Sandhills Research facility course in Columbia.
The Lady Bulldogs responded with an 18th place finish, which was better than a year ago for the young squad. Hilton Head won the meet and later made a clean sweep of the day with its boys’ squad taking that portion of the AAA races.
"Our girls all ran great races and had personal goals," Chickering said. "I had no expectations for them except to have fun and enjoy the race. We accomplished our goal of getting to state, and that is what the girls worked so hard to achieve."
Freshman Stephanie Areford was Camden’s fastest finisher, placing 48th overall with a personal record time of 21:09. Fellow freshmen teammates Megan Goodrich (22:14) and Heather Woolard (22:14) finished in 84th and 92nd place, respectively. Camden junior Abby McLaughlin was 107th with Mary Caston Morgan, a seventh-grader, 134th, and freshman Isabel Estrada finishing 141st.
Both Areford and Goodrich were recognized as two of the state’s top runners for the class of 2018, based on their times at the state meet. Areford is ranked 32nd while Goodrich checked in at number 50. "That is a really neat recognition as I don’t think we have had any runner to accomplish that, since I took the reins six years ago," Chickering said. "Again, it shows the dedication and hard work the girls have put in over the season."
One of the best things for Chickering’s program is that the squad will remain intact for next season as the Lady Bulldogs did not have a senior runner in 2014. Chickering said the future looks bright.
"Many girls ran personal bests on Saturday, which is great and did much better than last year. Of course the competition was tough and intense," Chickering said. "The great thing is that the future looks bright for this team as we have no seniors on the team graduating, and everyone expects to be back.
"It was a great season, overall, and the progress the girls made throughout the season was great to see. They achieved their goals for the year and improved their times. I know next year they will be striving for more."