Mariyah Banks takes turns switching from excitement to nervousness when she thinks about competing at Saturday’s CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno.
The Golden Valley senior is the only area runner to qualify for state.
“I’m excited but nervous,” Banks said. “It was a major goal to get to state. I’ve been trying since my freshman year. I had to sit out my junior year with a knee injury, but to come back off the injury to make it to state is pretty excited.”
Banks will compete in the Division 1 race at 8:30 a.m.
Last year at this time she was spending most of her time in the pool trying to rehabilitate her knee. Banks injured her knee from too much running. She was forced to sit out the cross country season in order to get healthy for track in the spring.
She’s come back strong this year, winning all three Central California Conference cluster meets and the Merced County Championship meet. Banks finished seventh in the Division 1 race at sub-sections with a time of 20 minutes, 16 seconds. She qualified for state with an 11th place finish at sections in Folsom with a time of 19:39.
“I want to do my best at state and hopefully finish in the top 50,” Banks said. “I want to try to get out of the pack. I don’t want to get stuck. Hopefully I can get a good start, get settled in and then find a comfortable pace and see how I feel from there.”