RYAN CARPE/Advocate photo
Versailles’ Madison Grilliot races during the Ohio High School Athletic Association cross country regional championships Saturday in Troy.
VERSAILLES – Freshman Madison Grilliot will represent the Versailles cross country team Saturday at the Ohio High School Athletic Association cross country state tournament in Hebron.
“I’m really excited,” Grilliot said. “It would’ve been better if my team was with me, but I’m really excited.”
Grilliot is the sole Versailles runner from the girls team to advance onto the state tournament, but she said she couldn’t have done it without the help of her team.
“My teammates have really pushed me,” Grilliot said.
Her team also helped cheer her on during the Division III girls race in Troy last week to give her the extra boost she needed to press on.
“I knew I had to kick it in gear, I could hear people. Because I knew I was around 14th or 15th or 16th. I just tried to keep up,” she said.
Grilliot felt confident about last week’s performance but didn’t initially know that she was heading to the state tournament.
“When I finished I was really devastated because I thought I got 17th. And then I got back to camp and all the boys on the team said my name was under the scoreboard at 16th,” Grilliot said. “It was all just overwhelming. We had to wait until our names were announced, and my name was announced at 16th. So, I was really excited.”
Grilliot advanced through the regional tournament in Troy by keeping cool and following Versailles coach Mark Pleiman’s advice, she said.
“Before the race started, coach Pleiman told us not to get anxious in the first or second mile because that’s where everyone is,” Grilliot said. “You don’t want to use all your breath or run out of energy. So I tried not to do that. I paced myself the first and second mile and then let everything else take over in the third mile. I think it worked out really well.”
Grilliot is aiming to break into 19 minutes in her Saturday race and hopes she’ll gain valuable experience competing at the state level for future races.
“I’ll have knowledge as a freshman going in so I’ll know what to expect next year and junior and senior year,” Grilliot said.
Grilliot recounts her first race and realizes just how far she’s come in only a short time.
“I remember the first race, I was so scared. And when it started I just took off running,” she said.
Grilliot said that she’s happy to make it to the state level, but her friends’ and family’s support has been the best part.
“I have so many supporters in my family and my teammates. It means a lot to me,” Grilliot said.