Updated: Sep 14, 2020
Sandpoint, ID - Last season, Post Falls' Samantha Wood ran the race of her life at the IHSAA 5A State Cross Country Championships running a time of 18:15.1 placing her fourth overall.
Fast forward a year later, Wood obliterated that time in Travers Park this Friday, August 28, 2020, in Sandpoint, Idaho.
In an impressive solo effort, Wood ran a 5k personal best time of 17:59 in the girl's race to open up the 2020 cross country season against Inland Empire League foes Sandpoint, Coeur d'Alene, and Lake City.
From the get go, Wood was in total control leading from start to finish, as it was just her and the lead pace bike who were racing against each other for the majority of the three-lap speedy course.
As a sophomore, Wood was three seconds off the course record time last season, and coming into the first meet of this year, that was all she could think about.
"Last year we ran this course, and I was so close to breaking the course record, so that was in the back of my mind," said Wood. "With everything that has been going on, I just wanted to give it my all for my team today."
Like many states around the country, Idaho had cancelled their spring sports due to the Coronavirus pandemic, leaving these athletes with nothing to compete for in track and field.
For athletes like Wood who haven't raced since late-October, early-November, the last few months of training have been tough with no certainty of a cross country season even occurring this fall.
"With coronavirus, it's just been a grind since track season," said Wood. "Just training on my own all spring, and then finally getting to do summer conditioning with my team made it really special. I think that was the motivation for today."
Although it's only the first couple of weeks into the season, Wood now has the fastest time in all of Idaho, which isn't a surprise after an impressive sophomore season where she had beaten an elite runner and BYU commit, Lexi Halladay, at the state championships to place fourth overall.
Despite all the numerous awards she has collected and the fast times she has run up to this point in her high school career, there's more meaning to running for Wood, and the coronavirus hasn't stopped her from doing what she loves.
"Running is what keeps me going and we are fortunate to have great places to run in our town," said Wood. "But if I don't go for the wins or the fast times, I just really love running and everyday it makes me happy so I could never stop."
Not only did Wood gather the individual win, her team also came away with a 21-58 victory over host Sandpoint as Post Falls had a total of five girls finish in the top 10.
Along with Wood, Anna Peters (3rd, 19:39.53), Leah Holding (4th, 19:49.89), Alahna Lien (5th, 19:54.61), and Kaley Bohl (8th, 20:06.27) were the other four runners to make the top 10 for the Trojans.
Second-place Sandpoint was led by Mackenzie Suhy-Gregoire and Camille Neuder who were seventh and 10th running 20:05.82 and 20:52.42.
Angelyca Champman of Lake City was the runner-up in a time of 19:34.78. Coeur D'Alene's Elliana Rietze and Abby Buzolich finished sixth and ninth running 19:57.81 and 20:24.53.