After standing out during the fall cross country season, Alexandra Melehan went on to enjoy a successful track season in the spring, winning a county title in the 1,600-meter run and eventually qualifying for the state meet. Along the way, she broke the school record in the 3,200.
Melehan, however, suffered a setback during the offseason when doctors discovered she had a stress fracture in her leg.
“That basically took all my summer training out,” she said. “I am going into the season without a whole lot of conditioning, but I think it will go well. (Woodstock coach Kirk) Scharich is a really good coach and we will all just do our best.”
Now, beginning her junior year, Melehan is once again focused on cross country.
Last fall, she ran a season-best time of 19 minutes, 23.95 seconds at the county meet — a full 30 seconds ahead of the runner-up. She won five of the six races she entered, but a pulled muscle prevented her from competing in the Region 5AAAAAA meet, and without her, the Lady Wolverines failed to qualify for state.
This season, Melehan plans to stick around for the entire season.
“I think we are going to have a pretty good team,” she said. “It will be fun. It will be interesting. It would be really nice to make it to state this year, and I think the team has a really good chance of making it to state. I think the team as a whole could do really well and it would be nice to be there as a group to support each other.”
Melehan hasn’t let the pressure get to her.
“It’s just about running,” she said. “We all do what we love, and I’m doing what I love. Just to go out and do that, that is what we are all there for.”
The Lady Wolverines certainly show dedication. The team practices daily at 5:55 a.m. and lifts after school twice a week. Melehan said the schedule takes a little to get used to, but she knows the only way to get better is through practice.
“For a few days, everyone is out there yawning,” she said. “No one is away for the first week or two, but everybody gets used to it.”
Also returning for Woodstock are seniors Rachel Steppe and Morgan O’Toole and sophomores Catherine Moreau, Taylor Poole and Paula Ruiz. Joining the team are freshman Alayna Cagle and sophomores Jenna Carr, Ashton Sutton and Chandler Sutton.
“Last year, we had a really good team,” Scharich said. “Alexandra got hurt and missed the region meet, and another girl broke her hand, and another girl had the flu. It was the worst week ever for me. I think we will be alright this year. Hopefully, they will keep it going.”
Competing with Woodstock in Region 5AAAAAA are Etowah and Cherokee.
Etowah will look to sophomore Kyla Resnick to be a leader for a team that returns all seven of its state meet competitors from a year ago. Kingsley Green and Shelby Rensel also return to the Lady Eagles.
Cherokee will be led by junior Caitlyn Farrell, who cracked the 20-minute mark last year with a finish of 19:58 at the University of Georgia Invitational. She placed seventh in the county meet.
Also returning are Ellie Sanders, Rehianna Pruitt and Kristen Padgett.
There are no seniors on the Lady Warriors’ roster, but coach Lane Whitley sees a lot of promise.
Creekview should be strong in Region 7AAAAA. The Lady Grizzlies return their top four runners from last season who all set personal bests on the way to an appearance at the state meet. Returning are senior Lera McNamara, junior Rachel Boulineau and senior Lauren Johnson. Camille Farhnbauer, who took a year off, is back for her junior season.
Annie Conrad, who will participate in both cross country and softball this fall, should be among the team’s top five. Other contributors include senior Ashtyn Powell, senior Claire Shirey, freshman Kendel Bennett, sophomore Tara Bilodeau and sophomore Megan McPherson.
Meanwhile, Marisa Rink, who injured her leg on the first day of summer running, is motivating the team and hopes to return before the end of the season.
Sequoyah returns a pair of seniors in Sydney Webb and Jessica Weems. Morgan Free returns for her junior year, as do Viviana Lopez and Megan McNeal. The team also adds sophomores Madison Stout and Eva Whitley and freshmen Emily Fudge and Kiley Howard.