Hanna Sanchez slipped and slid through the rain and mud to claim 4th place in the UIL State Cross Country Meet in early November.
Hanna was competing in her third consecutive State Cross Country Meet, and this one was like nothing she had ever seen.
“I’ve run in rain but I never had to run in mud like that,” she said. “It was terrible. Everybody was covered in mud. It was kind of fun to run in actually.”
Considering the conditions, it is not surprising that Hanna did not post her best time of the year. She finished in 12.20.01, which was slightly down from the 11.55 she ran at regionals. However, her 4th place finish was her highest at the State Cross Country Meet. She finished 15th at state last year and 38th the year before that. And her time was good enough to put her ahead of two of the three girls who finished ahead of her at the regional meet, including rival Morgan McCutchen, who won the regional championship.
“I was pleased with my 4th place,” Hanna said. “I was actually in the lead for a little while. I slipped in the mud, and that’s when I think the girls caught up. I gave it my all. I did beat Morgan – that made it a good day.”
Hanna and Morgan, who also is a senior, have become very competitive over the last two years.
“I feel like we just go back and forth, back and forth,” Hanna said. “She’s a fierce competitor. I wasn’t up to her level until my junior year. Since that point, it’s been back and forth.”
Hanna is happy with the way her high school Cross Country career ended. She won four Cross Country district championships and advanced to the state meet three times, improving her showing each year. She does however, wish that she could have done slightly better at the regional meet.
“I had a bad race that day,” she said. “I was wanting to win but for some reason, I never run well in Lubbock. But I made a statement at the state meet. I was pleased.”
Although Hanna’s Cross Country days for Wylie are over, she isn’t through running yet. She will compete in track for Wylie this spring. Last spring she took silver at the state track meet in the 3200 run.
And after high school, she will be running for Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. Hanna committed to run cross country and compete in indoor and outdoor track while studying pre-physical therapy at the university.
She was recruited by numerous schools.
“I am really excited,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it without Coach Hibbits and Coach Cordova. It was a hard decision. I really liked Texas Tech and St. Andrews, but I really like Tulsa and I liked the Christian atmosphere along with the small class size.”
The thought of competing at college is a little mind-boggling to Hanna who wasn’t even sure she wanted to do Cross Country in Junior High.
“My dad signed me up for Cross Country,” she said. “He said it would be super fun. I said, ‘Waking up at 5 a.m. doesn’t sound very fun.’”
But Hanna gave it a try, and the rest is history.
“I never thought I would be one of the top competitors at state,” she said. “I never though I would continue this in college. I am so excited. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.