The Wolfpacker

January-February 2024

The Wolfpacker: An Independent Magazine Covering NC State Sports

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Page 21 of 51

22 ■ THE WOLFPACKER BY MATT HERB atelyn Tuohy had crossed the finish line a little while earlier, and when she found coach Laurie Henes, all she could do was blurt out an apology. Tu o hy, t h e d e fe n d i n g NCAA women's cross country champ, had finished first among NC State run- ners and fifth overall at this year's na- tional championship race Nov. 18 at Panorama Farms in Charlottesville, Va. She had fought though an illness severe enough to make Henes wonder whether she would finish at all, and she had even passed six runners in the final stages. But at an event in which so much had gone wrong for the Wolfpack before the starter's pistol had even sounded, it wasn't going to be enough. Or so Tuohy thought. "I'm sorry," the All-America senior told her coach, disappointed that she hadn't passed two or three more runners at the end. Henes, however, wasn't so sure that the Pack had fallen short. She had been out on the course, loudly encouraging her runners from a spot about a kilome- ter from the finish line while monitoring the real-time race results on her phone. Henes knew that junior Amaris Tyynismaa had put together the bounce- back race she was eyeing after strug- gling at the ACC and NCAA Southeast Regional meets. She knew that senior Sam Bush had surged past more than a dozen competitors in the final kilometer, and she knew, too, that the team's new- comers had shined in their first national championship race. Even amid the fog of competition, Henes couldn't help but think that Tuohy's regrets were a little premature. Maybe more than a little. "I think we might have won," she said. Henes' calculations were right. The Pack had won. NC State finished with 123 team points, edging second-place Northern Arizona by just one point in the closest finish since the NCAA Division I Cham- pionships were first contested in 1981. It was a miraculous result, and Henes sounded both satisfied and slightly incredulous in the post-race media scrum. "You always tell people, every point counts in cross country," she marveled. Henes had known going into nationals that the team was going to need gritty performances from everyone wearing NC State colors. The Wolfpack ended up getting every one of those performances, starting with Tuohy's. Competing in her final race as an NC State athlete — she subsequently an- nounced on Dec. 6 that she was turn- ing pro — the 10-time All-American was "in the pain cave" after four kilometers. With two more kilometers to go, Tuohy knew she wasn't getting out anytime soon, but she kept going. K ALL FOR 1 NC State's Teamwork Yields Another NCAA Women's Cross Country Title

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