Just because Reedy junior Colleen Stegmann’s high school cross country season has ended doesn’t mean she’s quite done competing this fall.
Over the weekend, Stegmann outlasted every other runner besides Denton Guyer’s Brynn Brown at the Nike Cross Regionals South meet and finished second overall to qualify for the national meet in Portland on Dec. 7.
Stegmann placed ahead of other area standouts such as Lovejoy freshman Amy Morefield and even Class 6A state champion Aubrey O’Connell of Prosper.
All of this success comes just weeks after the superstar runner brought home her first-ever Class 5A state title when she finished with an overall time of 17:17.03.
“It’s been fun and really cool to see her grow as a racer,” said Lauren Watts, Reedy head coach. “She has gained so much confidence and knows now she can race with the top dogs and puts herself in the mix early in races now.”
The rise to the top wasn’t always smooth one, as Stegmann endured multiple heartbreaks along the way dating back to her freshman year.
In each of the previous two seasons, the junior faced the daunting task of having to compete alongside former Liberty standout Carrie Fish and three-time state champion London Culbreath of McKinney North.
With Fish off running at Texas A&M, and Culbreath battling through injuries during her senior year, the door for a potential shot a state title opened up for Stegmann after she won the regional meet for the first time in her career.
Stegmann carried that momentum from regionals over to Round Rock, as she dominated the competition and even held off a rising star in Morefield, as well as Aledo senior Gracie Morris, in the process.
“During the last 400 meters, I turned around to see if I could see anyone and I couldn’t,” she said. “And then that last 100 meters was such a cool moment. It’s really just now starting to sink in, but it was so surreal at first. I couldn’t even process it at first and it took about a week.”
As Stegmann crossed the finish line, Watts recalled that she stormed over from the other side to see if she indeed had won.
“I was ecstatic and we had a moment where all of us got to congratulate her,” she said. “This is huge for our program. Overall, what these kids have done over this past year has really put Reedy on the map. They went from a somewhat small program to really making a name for themselves. It’s a really exciting time.”
As a team, Reedy qualified for the state meet for the first time in school history and finished fourth overall behind Boerne Champion, Grapevine and Amarillo.