Pinecrest Academy junior Jessica Zalzman qualified for the state cross country meet with a third place finish at the Area 2-A Private (Region 8-A) championships at Athens Academy on Oct. 25.
Zalzman, daughter of first-year head coach Luisa Zalzman, finished with a time of 21:04 in the 5000m, 1:24 behind first place.
"Jessica was in the position to be the region champ, but a mile and a half away [from the finish line] she got a cramp," Luisa Zalzman said. "That forced her to slow down a lot. I suspect she would have finished first if she didn’t get the cramp."
Jessica Zalzman placed in the top five in her last four races, so her third place finish didn’t surprise her coach.
"She’s committed and very competitive," Luisa Zalzman said. "She does what it takes [to win]. I expect her to do a good job at state."
While Jessica Zalzman qualified for the state competition, both girls and boys teams failed to advance.
The girls team fell short of the fourth and final playoff spot with a fifth place finish, while the boys, who were led by a 17th place finish from Bryan Luffman, placed seventh in the team standings.
"I’m proud of [the boys]," Luisa Zalzman said. "They tried their best, and I’m happy with that."