Taylor Ramsey said she couldn’t quit smiling.
And who could blame her.
The Cedar Creek sophomore ran the race of her life Monday afternoon, capturing the Louisiana Class A Cross Country individual state title in Natchitoches and helping the Lady Cougars to a second-place team finish.
Ramsey won the 3-mile race with a time of 20:17.2.
“My game plan was to stay on pace with the lead group, because I believed I could kick with any of them at the end,” said Ramsey. “My motivation was to do my best for my team, but I also wanted to get a team state championship for Faith (Johnson), our lone senior.”
Ramsey continues a long history of Cedar Creek success in the state cross country meet. She becomes the seventh individual state champion from Creek in the last six years, joining Gabe Poulin (2016, 2017), Ansley Long (2018, 2019, 2020), and Collins Walker (2019).
“I was running the race I set out and toward the end I realized I was up front,” said Ramsey. “I thought to myself I really can win this. Coming around the track I felt the girl I was running with fall back and knew I could pull away. After I won I couldn’t stop smiling.”
Head coach Craig Moss said he wasn’t surprised by Ramsey’s performance.
“Taylor ran with a purpose and determination and when she had 300 meters left in the race she was stride for stride with the young runner from St Martin,” said Moss. “When they hit the track, I had no doubt Taylor was winning it.
“I saw how confident she looked. She was fluid and not pressing, and she has been working on her finish. I knew she would not be beat today. I am proud of her. I am proud of our team. They earned it. I give them all the honor and credit.”
Ramsey wasn’t the only Lady Cougar who ran well as Caroline James (20:27.7) finished third and Madison Morris (20:32.9) fourth while Marley Jinks (22:39.1) finished 19th and Faith Johnson (23:14.0) finished 23rd. St. Martin’s captured the girls team title.
“It was the race of the day and the competition was fierce,” said Creek coach Craig Moss. “Our girls ran their hearts out. Taylor is the Class 1A State Champion. Caroline was 3rd, and Madison was 4th. That is strong. Our girls knew it was going to a difficult race and knew it would take all of them working together to podium. Our girls left it out on the course today. St. Martins was just a little better today.”
On the boys side, Creek’s Ethan McCarthy finished fifth overall to help lead the Cougars to a fifth-place team finish as well. Connor Johnson (19:12.5) finished 23rd while Anderson Maxwell (19:31.0) finished 27th. Hayes Bridges (19:53.3) finished 30th and John Abram Earle (20:07.5) finished 33rd.
Creek Boys came into today’s meet as the 5th seed and that is where they ended the day.
“Ethan is a competitor and he ran a phenomenal race and earned his medal,” said Moss. “I was happy with all of our runners. All of our boys fought through adversity and I applaud their effort, heart and drive. These boys are young and will be a force in the next two years.”
“The future of Cedar Creek cross country will be strong for years to come. These young men and women are driven. We are young and will only get better.”
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