Leesburg, Va. (September 1, 2014) – Leading the Husky pack this year is Anna Wasko, and she has some big goals.
The 2013 Conference 14 cross country champion has been training, not just for her final season running for Tuscarora Girls Cross Country, but also for the future. Wasko is the senior co-captain at Tuscarora High School this year and is participating in her fourth year on the cross country team. The cross country season runs from August, with the Chancellor Invitational as the first race, to November, with the Region 5A Championships topping off the season.
“I started running cross country my freshman year. I simply started running because it was a no-cut sport and I had never run in my life; I just wanted to try something new and I really fell in love with the sport. Everything seemed to work out,” said Wasko.
Last year, Anna competed at the VHSL 5A state meet for cross country and finished third with a time of 18:49. Wasko improved her placement by thirteen spots and 47 seconds compared to her results in the 2012 5A state meet, when she finished sixteenth with a time of 19:36. Also, Wasko was featured in the Cheers Sports sponsored Viva Loudoun All-Loudoun Girls Cross Country teams in 2012 and 2013 and was part of the 2013 “Pack of the Year” with the rest of the girls varsity cross country team at Tuscarora.
“Being third in the state was definitely a pleasant surprise. Going into the season, I battled an illness, but it definitely made me a stronger athlete and I still use it to this day to motivate me. I still use that third place finish to motivate me; the goal is number one,” Wasko said.
With her 5K times decreasing, Wasko has already been training for months by working out often and increasing the amount of mileage in her runs to reach her new goals: to be first in the state and to be able to run the 5K in under eighteen minutes.
Wasko’s success is fueled by the support that she receives from family, friends and teammates. “My parents have been my number one supporters, obviously. They’re at every single race and every single day after practice, they’re asking me, ‘How is it going, how are you feeling’,” said Wasko.
Behind her parents, it’s her teammates and coaches. “I just couldn’t ask for better supporters. Especially my teammates, we’ve had such a strong team ever since my freshman year,” said Wasko.
“She’s become much more confident, she is a hard worker. She’s turned into an amazing leader,” coach Becky Puterio said. “We’re just going through great training strategy, talking about where she wants to go, what she wants to do with her goals, and just working with her on the best ways to get to them.”
Wasko also is planning her future plans, such as college. “I’m actually talking to college coaches now. I would absolutely love to run cross country and track and field in college and that’s one of the biggest deciding factors in applying for college,” said Wasko.
The next step to the season started with the Chancellor Invitational race on Saturday, August 30. Wasko competed against some of her biggest competitors and placed third in the varsity girls category with a time of 20:50. Along with Wasko’s third place, the Tuscarora girls placed first overall. The next race for the Huskies is the Great Meadows Invite on Saturday, September 6.
With the season already underway, Wasko and the rest of the team are already working hard to reach the stars this season. Wasko said, “Like I said, breaking that 18 [minute] barrier, that’s what I’m working at the most.”
Written by Viva Loudoun Intern Hanna Duenkel