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Maplewood’s Richards closes successful season

Submitted photo Maplewood’s Caleigh Richard’s sits on the podium after winning her second straight state title this season.

MECCA — Just days after winning her second straight individual Division III state cross country championship, Caleigh Richards went back to work.

On Nov. 14, the Maplewood sophomore finished 19th at the Nike Midwest Regional Championships in Indiana out of 195 runners that made up a wider, deeper talent pool of some of the best girls high school runners in the Midwest, from states like Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Missouri.

She was the second Ohio runner in the field to cross the finish line and earned third-team All-Midwest honors.

“It was a little intimidating at first, but it ended up being a really cool experience getting to run against the best and know that I am one of the top among several states, not just Ohio,” Richards said. “It was a privilege and a great opportunity.”

Going in, Richards said her goal was to finish in the top-21, which she accomplished even while dealing with the difficult running conditions.

“It didn’t feel the greatest because the wind was blowing really hard so the conditions were cold and tough to run in,” Richards said.

Richards added that she won’t be running in any more events this season, and has turned her attention to next year.

She plans to do distance running events in the 1600 and 3200-meter races for the Maplewood track team in the spring, while continuing to run and train to again defend her cross country state title as a junior next fall.

As she trains, Richards said she continues to hope to get better and faster all-around as a runner.

“I would like to continue to work and if it’s God’s plan, possibly win more state titles,” Richards said. “I would like to break 18 minutes in a 5k race, as well as break five minutes in the 1600 and possibly around 10:30 in the 3200. I would like to improve my speed a little more for track.”

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