Girls XC Runner of the Year

Have A Little Faith

Southmont’s Faith Allen repeats as JR Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year

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NEW MARKET — Southmont’s Faith Allen has showcased her dominance over the Montgomery County cross country scene the last two years. Even dating back to when she entered as a freshman, Allen’s name has been a constant one as she has qualified for the semi-state meet in each of her first three seasons.

This season Allen checked another item off of her bucket list when she broke the school record with a time of 18:51. Combine that with defending her Montgomery County girls title and placing second at the conference meet behind eventual state qualifier Audrey Knoper from Western Boone, and most would consider Allen’s season a success. However Allen, who holds herself to an extremely high standard, knows she can still achieve greater things.

“I would say I had a little bit of a down year compared to my sophomore season,” she said. “I had hoped to get to state, place first at the sectional, so I had some goals out there that I still didn’t accomplish. Overall I’m satisfied, but not quite happy with the year. I’m hoping that next season I can go out and reach those other goals that I set out for myself.”

Southmont coach and Faith’s mom Shelley Allen has seen the development of her daughter over the course of the last three seasons. The success that Faith has had hasn’t come naturally, she’s had to work for everything and the hard work has paid off.

“It’s really amazing to watch the determination that she has,” Shelley said. “She has goals that not many other people would set for themselves. I don’t have to tell her how or when she needs to train in the summer, she does it all on her own.”

The success of another trip to semi-state and breaking the school record has helped Faith earn the 2021 Journal Review Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Having your mom as a coach can sometimes be a little hard on an athlete. But when they succeed and break records like Faith did this season, it can also can make for some special moments.

“It’s pretty hard to put it into words what watching her break the school record meant,” Shelley said. “To watch her finally hit a goal that she’s been working so hard towards for so long was really awesome.”

To make the record even more impressive, the course was soaking wet from rain which made for some not so great running conditions. Despite that, Faith went out and put all of the distractions and excuses aside.

“Based on the conditions of the course, it really wasn’t a day where I said to myself that I was going to go break the record,” Faith said. “When I finished, I was in a little bit of disbelief and didn’t think I broke it. I’m hoping I can get back under 19 minutes next year and to really cement the record even further.”

Faith also took on a leadership role for the Mounties this season. She not only wanted success for herself, but the entire team and took more responsibility this year.

“As the fastest runner on the team, you’re going to have some form of a leadership role,” Faith said. “Everyone is looking up to you on the team and with not having many upperclassmen on the team I had to step up into that kind of role.”

“With her running the longest on the team, I think a lot of the girls on the team really look up to her,” Shelley said. “They admire the drive and determination that she has. She’s been able to use that to help the entire team this year and probably next year as well.”

Faith will have one final season to cement herself among the best runners to come through Montgomery County. The top goal for Allen next season? It’s a pretty simple one.

“I know that I need to step things up for next year if I do want to make it to state and reach all of those goals that I have,” Faith said. “Going to state would allow me to have my place in history and give the runners coming up something to reach for. To finally be able to say that I made it to the state finals would mean the world to me. To just get there would be a great way to cap off my high school career.”

With the drive and dedication that Faith possesses and the bar set high for her senior season, it will be a fun journey to watch how far she can go.

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