Pictured are Aubrey, left, and Claire Ebertowski, who both qualified to compete in the State cross country tournament.
Cotter juniors Claire Ebertowski and Aubrey Williams qualified for the State cross country tournament at the Section 1A meet at Northern Hills Golf Course in Rochester on Thursday, October 24.
Ebertowski finished 11th with a time of 20:16 and Williams was 13th at 20:39. Williams was also the final qualifier from the section, as the top eight runners that are not members of the two qualifying teams earn a trip to State.
The Cotter girls finished fourth of 23 teams at sections, with Ellie Glodowski, Sonja Semling, and Kyra Kotsmith rounding out the top five for the Ramblers.
The Cotter boys team finished 13th of 23 at the section meet with their top two finishers being eighth grader John Fritts and junior Cole Ebertowski.
It has been an interesting journey for the pair this season. The team started the season as one of the top teams in State, prior to the Grace and Lauren Ping moving to Arizona and losing Morgan Arnold to a season-ending injury prior to the first race of the season.
“I was really disappointed when I first heard about the Pings leaving, not just because of the talent they brought to our team but because I'd be losing two awesome teammates and friends. Then, with Morgan gone, our team was completely different than what it had been for the past few years, so it was a tough adjustment. However, we had a lot of new younger runners this season who worked incredibly hard and brought a lot of talent to the team, and our more experienced runners stepped up, so ultimately our season was really successful and a lot of fun,” Williams said.
Both girls missed races in the season due to injury or illness and had a short window to get back into racing
“I was sick for most of the season. I was able to have my stronger races towards the end of the season, though, and I was happy that I was able to come back and qualify for State,” Williams said.
“The beginning of my season was very hard because I was dealing with tendonitis in my right knee, but I got better and my season is going great now,” Ebertowski said.
Ebertowski also had to miss her sophomore season after transferring to Cotter.
“Sitting out last year was painful as I had to watch everyone else being able to compete. But the relationships I’ve made have made that sacrifice worth it and makes competing that much sweeter now,” Ebertowski explained.
Both girls see the benefit of having another teammate qualify for the race.
“I loved qualifying with a teammate, it makes the whole experience more fun knowing you did it together. Aubrey and I have been training with each other for the last two years and we both push each other in a good, competitive way in the races and in practice,” said Ebertowski.
“It's really fun having someone to share the whole State experience with. Running with Claire this season has also been a lot of fun, since we push each other in practice, but also have a lot of fun at the same time,” Williams agreed.
They’re both hoping for a strong race and good experience at State.
“My goal is just to run the best race that I can,” Ebertowski said.
“At State, I just want to run my best and have fun. It's a really fun experience, so I just want to enjoy it,” Williams said.
The State meet will be held on Saturday, November 2, at St. Olaf University in Northfield. Race times are Class AA girls at 10 a.m. AA boys at 11 a.m., Class A girls at 1 p.m., and Class A boys at 2 p.m.