Samantha Wilcox crossed the finish line for the last time in her career and a spree of hugs and tears quickly followed.
Wilcox, Boscobel's lone senior cross country competitor finished 17th overall with a time of 16:08.60 to help her team finish eighth at the WIAA Division 3 State Cross Country meet Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids.
"I love the feeling when you see the finish line and you're just running there and everyone's cheering for you and you can hear your family and teammates and coach," Wilcox said. "I love that the best."
She also made sure she left a lasting impression in her final steps.
"When there was 400 (meters) left I was thinking just to sprint up and I did," Wilcox said. "At the finish line I passed like five people, I just made sure I passed at least four people at the end. I gave it all I got because it's my senior year and it's my last race."
The Bulldogs top runner was freshman Keely Foley, who capped a solid freshman season by finishing ninth overall with a time of 15:19.55.
"It was one second off my best time," Foley said of Saturday's effort. "But now I know the course, I did pretty good. I definitely wanted to make it on the top 10, I wanted to make it on the podium, but we can do that next year."
Foley said she improved vastly since the first meet of the season.
"The first meet that I had I didn't know what I had in myself," Foley said. "It was 45 seconds slower than the second race, because the second race actually pushed myself to the limit. You have to get out of your comfort zone and just tap in to it and you can go way farther than you expect. Every single one of my races I just got faster because I just started finding new gears inside of myself. You can do so much more than what you think you can."
And Foley plans on doing what she can to try to earn a medal by placing in the top six next season with a straightforward regimen.
"Run, run, run," Foley said. "During basketball season, it's going to be I'm going to basketball practice and then run, because running is definitely my favorite sport and that's all I care about is running right now."
Oshkosh Lourdes won the meet placing first with 57; Saint Mary Springs was second with a 72 and Darlington was third with an 118.
Five other Bulldogs runners also completed the race including: Shelby Davis, finishing 61st with a 17:24.18; Brady Borowski, 64th with a time of 17:28.46; Autumn Moret, 77th with a time of 18:01.31; Lachen Esters, 90th with a time of 18:19.42 and Dominique Giddings, 95th with an 18:25.98. It was the 10th time in the last 11 years the Bulldogs competed in the state meet.
"They went out and started where we asked them to and gave it the best that they could," Boscobel coach Skyler Reynolds said. "I think they went out and raced their race. I don't think they necessarily went out and ran above where they could run or necessarily below where they've ran. They've ran where they've been running and kind of finished in the middle of the pack. Getting back to state was a big thing for them."
And the girls plan on improving on their finish next season.
"We definitely have a lot of girls coming up that'll bring us up," Foley said. "I just feel we could do so good coming into the next year, like we're going to pop. Everybody's a lot more relaxed and they're just like 'I love being with you guys.' I can be myself. We work hard together, we might yell at each other in practice, but we're only doing that to push each other so we can keep going."
And with that Foley and her teammates will bid a fond farewell to Wilcox.
"Having Sam leave this year, is going to be horrible," Foley said. "She's like my best friend and I don't want her to leave. If it wasn't for my teammates, I wouldn't be anywhere."