Wilkes defended her Section V Class C cross country title by taking first place with a time of 19:04. Ubbink finished fifth with a time of 20:38.7 in Sectionals. Both girls competed a week later in the New York State Cross Country Championships at Vernon-Verona Sherrill High School in Verona, NY.
"To be this up close and personal to watch, I feel very lucky," said Aidan Cort, a 2020 Midlakes graduate who ran cross country with both seniors in high school and is a junior at Wells College. "It’s been great to be able to see their progression. The kids who are seniors now, you could see the potential they had."
Wilkes finished sixth in the state race, which featured a tough, muddy course with wind, rain and cold temperatures, a stark contrast from the 70-degree temperatures at Sectionals.
“At the state meet, I just wanted to run a good time,” Wilkes said. “I wanted to break 19 (minutes) at Sectionals and I was four seconds off, but I figured the state meet was the race that I had to run fast to get the time and if not, I had to at least place high so I could make up for it.”
Ubbink finished her first cross-country season at the state meet after scoring a Top-10 finish at Sectionals, something she didn’t expect at the start of the season.
“I was expecting to do it to stay in shape for indoor and outdoor,” Ubbink said. “Seeing someone else do something kind of encouraged me, the team is so supportive, and Aidan gives us a lot of hard workouts that push us to be better.”
Also, 11 runners on the team finished with personal bests at Sectionals. Wilkes’ time earned her an invite to run the Federation Championships at Bowdoin Park in Wappinger Falls, NY – the first time a cross-country runner from Midlakes qualified for the race.
She plans to run cross country and track after graduation at St. Bonaventure University, where she will study physical education. Ubbink is considering studying art history and has yet to pick a school.
Ubbink, Wilkes, and Cort have already begun preparing for the indoor track season, with Wilkes looking to defend her individual Sectional title in the 3,000-meter run while Cort commutes from Wells College to continue his studies and coach for Midlakes.
"It’s great to be able to come in with the lens of having been on the team and knowing what things are like and knowing the direction, from a coaching standpoint, you want to take it," Cort said. "It's a nice dynamic that adds some perspective."