Danville fourth-graders Snapp and Pace help Ads reach state championship

November 06, 2003|JILL ERWIN

They were two of the smallest competitors at the Class A, Region 4 cross country meet last weekend, and they'll be among the smallest at this week's state championship.

But Danville wouldn't be regional champion if not for fourth-graders Kaitlin Snapp and Diamond Pace.

Snapp was the first Danville girl, and fourth overall, across the line in the 3.1-mile regional race in 22 minutes, 26 seconds. Pace was 13th overall and the third Danville runner behind seventh-grader Maddie Meckes. Pace finished in 24:37.

Snapp has been one of Danville's strongest runners throughout the season, her first on the varsity team. Snapp was pleased with her fourth-place finish in the region, but said she still didn't reach her goal of coming in under 22 minutes.

She said running the varsity races with varsity runners has helped her improve more than running in elementary events would have.


"I'm better at distance, I think," Snapp said. "There are more faster people in high school races, and that makes me better."

Teammate Sarah Vonderbrink said Snapp is good for the Danville team as well. Vonderbrink, a sophomore, said Snapp helps push the other Admirals.

"She's great for the team," Vonderbrink said. "She's always in such a great mood and always ready to run. She's really motivating to all the other girls and she gives us something to work for, to try to stay up with her."

"Kaitlin is one of the few girls that doesn't have the soccer commitment," Danville coach Ed McKinney said. "She's been able to get a lot of miles in. She's put her work in. She's a determined little girl. She's very competitive. I just want them to have fun at that age, but they start running so good that your expectations go high. Then you've got to be careful that you don't expect them to carry you."

Snapp and Pace both say they don't like running on hot days or in humidity. They both agree they're having fun running for Danville and getting ready for their first state meet.

While Pace is excited about the opportunity to run at state, she's not looking forward to a repeat of the nerves that got her last weekend.

"I kind of didn't really want to (qualify)," Pace said. "I had butterflies in my stomach. When I was running, I was really, really tired. I'm not really looking up to it."

Pace has been a part of the varsity team for even less time than Snapp. Pace started this year running in elementary races. She moved up to middle school races for about three races, then joined the varsity team. She had raced in only five varsity races going into the regional.

"Diamond's gotten better all year," McKinney said. "Sara Peavler, a junior, I think helped Diamond a lot early in the season. She ran with her. It's hard for a fourth-grader to come up, but Sara kind of took her under her wing. A lot of our girls do a good job of that, but Sara in particular.

"That's another testament to it being a team sport because Sara didn't run (in the regional), but she had just as much to do with it. She shows up every day and works hard."

Snapp already has one edge on Pace - she turned 10 on Aug. 10, while Pace is still nine. Neither of them is lacking for energy, however, and McKinney said that's great to see.

"They're typical fourth graders," McKinney said. "Sometimes, as the girls get older, there are going to be times where they don't want to run that day. That's just human nature. Those girls are always, whenever we say 'run,' they're always running. It's kind of refreshing."

Central Kentucky News Articles