Running To States


Seniors Kyle Habibelahy and Hayley Eck and junior Isabella Belogay advance to states with elite times.

On Nov 6, runners laced up their spikes, pinned their bibs, and stretched out in preparation for what some had been training for their entire highschool career: regionals. The five kilometer course tucked behind Woodgrove High School was a fast one, flat with only slight inclines. Both the boys and girls team wasn’t expected to do well, with neither of the teams ranked in the top three needed to go through, so it was up to the individuals to qualify for states. Junior Isabella Belogay kept an optimistic mindset during the race in order to succeed. 

“I was running injured, so I knew that I had to stay positive. I had done the work to get there, so I knew that I just had to focus, keep looking forward, stay determined, and finish in the top 10,” said Belogay. 

The boys raced at 1:00, and the girls raced at 1:30. Of the boys team, senior Kyle Habibelahy qualified for states. Habibelahy came in 10th place overall with a time of 16 minutes and 16 seconds, the fastest time from a PFHS runner in over four years. This will be Habibelahy’s first time at states for cross country.

“[Qualifying for states] was a big surprise. I never expected to do it but it felt like a victory to me realizing I could compete with the best,” said Habibelahy.

For the girls team, two runners qualified: senior Hayley Eck and Belogay. Eck came in 9th place with a time of 19 minutes and 15 seconds. Belogay finished just after Eck in 10th place with a time of 19 minutes and 26 seconds. For all three runners that qualified, this was their fastest race of their career. Eck is happy to finish her cross country career on a high note. 

“I’m really excited to go to states because I have gone every year and it is a great way to end cross country,” said Eck. 

Out of over 60 runners in the region, only three teams and 10 individuals qualify for states. States will take place on Nov 16, at Great Meadows in The Plains, VA. The cross country team has been preparing since June, running every day, with runs ranging from four to seven miles for a little over three mile race. The rest of the varsity team will be there to support Eck, Belogay, and Habibelahy at states. Senior Salem Eleison has been on the team for two years and is proud to see her teammates succeed. 

“I am really happy for them because they are some of the hardest working people I know,” said Elieson.