In her freshman year, Kellee McCann finished 56th at the state cross country meet.
Now, in her senior season, the Northwest cross country and track standout has made substantial progress, having just placed seventh overall in the recent Class 5A state cross country meet at Round Rock.
McCann had improved her placing to 16th as a sophomore and admits that in her junior campaign, she just had “a bad race” in the regional meet and didn’t move forward.
“Last year was hard on me for not going,” McCann said. “I told myself I’m going to go back and do something big,” she said.
Admittedly, competing in District 4-5A is tough enough on its own merit, much less to emerge from the talent to compete at the regional meet. The state champion team (Carroll) for the last three years has come from the local district.
Having finished in the top 10 at state this year, McCann will carry the honor of being tabbed as an All-State selection.
What lies ahead for McCann is not any immediate rest and recuperation.
McCann and a group of other local runners now have their sights on competing at the Nike Regional Meet in The Woodlands this weekend. The top five times will qualify for the Nike Nationals cross country meet.
Her goal is to make it to the national meet after already hitting one of her goals this season.
“I wanted to hit a goal of 18 minutes or less in the cross country season,” McCann said of the 5k distance. “I ran a 17:56 and at regionals, I hit a 17:13 on a three-mile course.”
Using that pace scale, McCann said that would’ve been an even faster time over a 3.2 mile distance.
After the Nike events, McCann said she’ll “take a couple of weeks off and give my brain and body a break.”
Immediately ahead for McCann after the Nike events is looking to improve on her fourth place state finish in the two-mile run during the track and field season. McCann runs both the two-mile and one-mile events.
“Over the years, I’ve gotten better at the two-mile,” she said. “At the regional, I placed fourth and didn’t even get out of the region,” she said, as only the top two finishers move on to the state meet.
When pressed on which season – cross country or track – she prefers more, McCann was stumped for an immediate preference.
“That’s a tough one,” she said. “I love cross country because of the family atmosphere. But the race on a track is more fun with the lights and being in a stadium. I like both, though.”
Regardless of which terrain she attacks, McCann is looking forward to great things at the next level, as well.
With the official signing date not until February, McCann has already given a verbal commitment to compete for Syracuse University next fall.