Cross country spotlight: Kendall Howen, Junior, Richardson Pearce

Update: Last week, despite being bothered by a lingering injury, Howen finished 10th at the Class 4A Region II meet. She qualified for Saturday's state meet.

Improvements all over: Last year as a sophomore, Howen finished 79th. "It was a lot, lot better than last year," she said. She attributes her improvement to a new focus on running and more training in the off-season. Her best two-mile time of the fall was 11:20.

Getting healthy again: About a month ago, Howen suffered a hip injury and missed a meet. She hopes to be near top form for Saturday's race. "Each week," Howen said, "I've felt stronger."

Major interests: Howen loves her mother's chocolate chip cookies, always watches the TV show Modern Family, and dreams of becoming a chemical engineer.

Superstitious: For each race, Howen wears a pair of lucky, mismatched socks. It started because one race she couldn't find matching pairs and had a great race. Last spring, Howen also wore a mismatched jersey, the top being a lighter shade of blue than the shorts.

Loves running because: "The feeling of accomplishment after a hard workout or a race. It's hard, but you just feel so good."

Mark Dent

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