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Lola Edwards, a Louisburg freshman, sets the pace for the Lady Cats. Edwards placed 10th in the state, third in regionals and fifth in the league meet.

LOUISBURG — Lola Edwards and the Lady Cat cross country team made school history at Louisburg this season, becoming the first team in the history of the program to bring home a state trophy.

Edwards, a league, regional and state medalist, helped the Lady Cats place third in the Class 4A state cross country meet in Wamego. She was named the Tri-County Spotlight Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

“I feel very blessed to have received this award, and to have had the opportunity to do so,” Edwards said. “Running for Louisburg and coach John Reece is a privilege. Accomplishing this as a freshman makes me very excited to see what will come next in my running career. I am grateful to have come this far, and I am excited to go even farther next year.”

Edwards placed 10th in the state meet, winning a medal. She crossed the finish line in 21 minutes.

Louisburg placed third in the Baldwin regional, qualifying the girls team for state for the fourth year in a row. The regional featured state champion Baldwin and state runner-up Eudora.

Edwards finished third in the regional meet with a time of 19:49, which was her personal record. The time also landed her first on the Tri-County Spotlight Girls Cross Country Team leaderboard. She was fifth in the Frontier League meet at Ottawa with a time of 21:07.

“She might be a freshman by grade, but a timid runner she is not,” Louisburg coach John Reece said. “She is a great runner who is only going to get better. She is a quiet leader who leads by example and effort.”

Edwards loves to run and loves the competition. She was also challenging herself, going for her personal best in every race.

“My teammates and I set a goal early this season to make it to state, and it meant the world to us to accomplish that goal,” Edwards said. “The whole team had an amazing season, breaking records and pushing each other to be their best.

“I know that everything I accomplished this year could not have been done without my teammates,” she said.

Edwards said teammate Reese Johnson helped show her the ropes this season and was a great team leader.

“Leaving the state meet in Wamego with the third-place trophy was a moment the Lady Cats will never forget,” Edwards said.

“When Coach Reece announced that Louisburg girls had placed third, we were all thrilled,” she said. “It was my favorite moment of the season. Knowing that we had placed third out of some of the best teams in the state in Class 4A made me speechless. It was something that had never been done in program history, and I still can’t believe we were the first team to change that. I cannot wait for next season and what we are going to accomplish. I hope that we are able to compete at state and attain another state title.”

Sports Editor Gene Morris can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or gene.morris@miconews.com.

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