Palisades’ Thomas Smigo and Central Bucks West’s Julia Flood both realized late in the recent PIAA cross country championships that it was the time to increase their pace.
Fortunately for both, it resulted in a top 20 finish respectively at the state meet.
Smigo, a freshman, finished seventh overall in the Class 2A bracket in a time of 16.31, and Flood was 20th in the Class 3A division posting a time of 19:13. The Central Bucks West girls team was seventh overall and the Palisades boys team was 16th.
It was the final extension of a successful season and postseason for the duo. Smigo took top honors in both the Colonial League and District 11, while Flood won the Suburban One League Continental Conference crown and was 13th at districts.
For Smigo, his motivation came from a Lewisburg runner.
“One thing that I kept in the back of my mind was that Jacob Hess got seventh last year as a freshman,” noted Smigo. “I wanted to match his placement or better it as well, but I knew I needed a heck of a race to do so.
“During the race, I still had the same mentality, and I felt great passing the 2-mile mark. I was picking people off and I tried my hardest to not have anyone pass me. That’s when I started to make my move and shoot for the top 10.
“I exceeded my goal before, at and during the race, and I couldn’t be happier with my performance. Our team goal was to be in the top 15, and we were close. I am really proud of my teammates and coaches.”
Flood, a junior who finished 15th at states last year, also began to excel late in the race.
“The race for me started off slow,” she said. “The first mile was slow, but it was the last mile when I felt strong and really was able to execute my race the best.”
Even though she had a lower time in previous races, Flood was pleased with her overall performance.
“The time wasn’t my best,” said Flood. “But as far as the race, I believe it was my best of the season.”
The top 50 girls finishers included Central Bucks East’s Mckenna Brophy, who was 18th in a time of 19:10, and Flood’s West teammate, Emmi Simon, who was 46th in a time of 19:44.