The Story Behind a Nation Ford Cross Country Photo talks with Nation Ford cross country runners and a coach about a finish line photo from the AAAAA state qualifier.

Athlete on the ground: Marysa Brenner
Athlete comforting her: Katie Pou
Coach: Jake Brenner

Katie Pou - This photo was taken at the finish of our state qualifier race this past Saturday. In the photo, I am comforting my fellow teammate after she had an upsetting personal race. Although she didn't achieve the time she was going for, I reminded her that a bad race does not define how your season is going to play out, but rather the quality of effort you put in each day will drive and carry you to accomplish what seemed impossible in the end. I also told her that she should be proud of her effort as she tried her best. Everyone has a bad race, but through encouragement and motivation, they can get back in the right direction to be the runner they want to be. This picture displays only a small part of the lifelong friendship I have created and share with my fellow teammate, Marysa Brenner. Through our toughest races and setbacks, we are always there to uplift and help each other to get back up and keep fighting to reach our goals.

Marysa Brenner - I am sitting on the ground trying to emotionally process my poor performance in the state qualifier race. This photo speaks so much to the strength and encouragement a teammate can have towards you. Katie Pou is reassuring to me that this race is only one race and I must believe in myself because the State Finals is the race that matters the most.

Coach Jake Brenner - I noticed one of my athletes was not in a good mood, but wanted to check that she was physically ok. At that moment I could see that her teammate Katie was comforting her and wanted to let her have that moment with her.

Watch the AAAAA qualifier race below