Tusky Valley junior Madison DeBos certainly doesn’t need directions on how to get to National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio. And she sure can navigate around the 5,000-meter state cross country trail once she gets there.
Last year DeBos finished just inside the top 20, earning All-Ohio status with a 16th-place finish in 18:59, while she was at 55th in her freshman season in a time of 19:47.
This year the junior continued her upward trajectory, running an 18:29.7 to earn a fourth-place finish in Div. II.
The Lady Trojan ace runner has made a name for herself quickly, and her performance this year has put the rest of Div. II on high alert for next year.
“My first year didn’t go the way I wanted it to go here, and last year I was pleased to get All-Ohio, but I knew I had more in me,” DeBos said. “My goal this year was top five. I really wanted top five, and I was not going to give that up for anything. I worked hard all summer and finally got it.”
DeBos said she wanted to go out at a 5:45 pace, noting that she didn’t want to kill herself but wanted to keep the leaders within shouting distance.
“I wanted to put myself in a good position in that first mile. Then in the second and third miles I could just go for it, and everything I had left in me was going to come out,” DeBos said. “I was hoping to get a little faster time, but here at state it is all about placing.”
Her coach Sandy DeBos said nothing her star runner does surprises her any more, and she said her senior season should be even better as she continues to climb the ranks at state.
“She’s been so strong with her finish, and she’s been consistent all year long,” head coach Sandy DeBos said of her two-time All-Ohio runner. “She has a little bit of speed, but her biggest asset is that she is as strong as an ox.”
As for the Trojans as a team, coach DeBos said they had higher aspirations than the ninth-place finish they took home with them.
“We were hoping for something a little better than that,” coach DeBos said. “Hopefully that will inspire us to work even harder for next year.”
The door is now wide open for DeBos to step into rarified air next season.
“The way I look at it is that only three seniors finished in front of me this year, so I am going to use this next year to really go out and push myself, and maybe I can win it next year.”
One thing is certain: Should she qualify, she won’t have any problem finding her way back to Hebron.