An upbeat and bubbly attitude made all the difference.
One week after placing third at the Region 6-AAAAAA meet, Lambert’s girls cross country team took home sixth place at the Class 6A state championship behind a strong fifth place finish from senior Leanne Zimmer on Saturday in Carrollton.
"I’m still on pure adrenaline," Lambert head coach Natalie Leonard said. "For us to make sixth, that’s the best we’ve ever done. Our goal was to be in the top 10, and we did that. It was one of our best meets ever."
Instead of worrying about other teams or reviewing their game plan, the Lady Longhorns made a music video to the song "Die Young" by pop singer Kesha on the two hour bus ride.
"They were all giggling and laughing," Leonard said. "They kept listening to the same song over and over and I looked back and they were making a music video. By the time they got to the starting line, they were pumped and excited and happy."
The light-hearted attitude paid off, as Lambert finished with 259 points, while Mill Creek took fifth place with 241 points and state champion Brookwood won with 65.
Zimmer finished with a time of 19:51, just seven seconds behind fourth place, which was good for her sixth top-five finish of the season.
"I told her to stay within the top 10 and gauge off of people," Leonard said. "That last mile, she just went for it and beat the sixth place girl by two seconds. She did a great job."
Katherine Aiken (27th), Madeline Gilleland (54th) and Erica Williams (68th) finished strong out of the 204 participants.
"I told them to see each other [during the race] and they did a good job. Madeline came in the third position and she’s normally in the fifth. I’d say she was instrumental for where we ended up."
South Forsyth’s girls placed 17th and the boys finished 21st, while Jessica Zalzman took sixth place with a time of 20:06 for Pinecrest Academy in the Class A private school division on Nov. 3.