NORMAN — For the Timberwolves, The road to this year’s state cross country meet began before they had even taken off last year’s medals. After finishing third a year ago — the highest finish in Norman North history — the Timberwolves looked at their teammates and realized the run didn’t have to end there.
“We knew that we would all be back again,” senior Abbey Mace said. “And we started working towards this right then.”
Fast forward a year later, and it’s the same group of eight girls that have dominated the cross country season like few have before. The Timberwolves have won every meet going away this season, and are the heavy favorites entering Saturday’s state meet at 10 a.m. at Edmond Santa Fe.
But what is most important to the Timberwolves is not how good they’ve become; it’s how far they’ve gone to get there.
The seed of a title run may have been planted a year ago at the state meet, but it’s the work that’s gone into the dream since then that has made it a realistic one.
After that meet ended and the Timberwolves walked away hungrier than they came in, Norman North, led by seniors Belle Wallace, Sheridan Spellman, Elise Base, and Abbey Mace went to work immediately. Their leadership helped the rest of the team — Madeline Brown, Sydney Warrick, Rachel Chrisman and Isabella Rose — push themselves with the goal of a state championship before their group was broken apart by graduation. Through summer conditioning and an aggressive preseason training regimen, they took the same approach that they now do at every meet: work as a pack.
It’s a term the Timberwolves chose for themselves and one that perfectly describes the way they work. Every single race sees at least half of the squad bunched up near the front, running in unison and tracking down any runner in front of them. Not only do the Timberwolves hope it intimidates other teams, it also allows them to push each other harder than they otherwise could, setting a pace that no other team in the state can come close to matching.