Now the senior has led the team of six runners to the Class C State Championships in Belfast this upcoming Saturday after her 10th-place finish in Cumberland at the Western Class C regional championships Saturday.
“It always has been one or two girls every year,” Stone said. “To see it grow, to have an actual team on the (startling) line is so great.”
She had no idea what expect at the regionals where she finished fifth last year to qualify for the Class C championship. The team finished eighth in the regional and missed the state championships in 2013. She finished eighth at the state championship last season
“I went in this, not knowing where I was going to be,” Stone said of the Western Maine Class C championships. “We had a (school) dance last night, so I had no idea how it would go or how I would do. So, I said I would settle for the mid teens, and when I heard where I was (on the course), I said I would go for it.”
Head coach Willow Ochtera knows Stone will give it her best effort on Saturday.
“My goal for her is to put everything behind her race and place the best that she can place,” Ochtera said. “That’s as far as my goal goes. My job is to help her get there, and if during that race she puts everything behind it, that’s where she needs to be.”
Maybe it was all the dancing she did the night before, but her time was 22:24.97 was 27 seconds slower than her time at the regionals last year. Still, Stone was one of the top runners in the Mountain Valley Conference.
She posted a victory on Sept. 17 in Carrabec and a second-place and two fourth-place finishes — one at the MVC Preview meet and the other was at the MVC Championships on Oct. 18.
“She’s an extremely competitive girl,” Ochtera said. “She’s very self motivated and she put a lot of extra time before the season started on her own. It showed in her performance I think.”
Since it is her senior year, it was her goal this year to not leave anything behind. It all started in the summer when she went camping. She traveled with other runners from New Engalnd to Vermont for the Stowe running camp. She also said there was only one other girl from Maine.
“I had a blast at the camp. I would say that definitely helped my training this season,” Stone said.
Stone said she doesn’t do a lot of racing outside Maine so it was a good chance to see what other runners do from the region in terms of technique.
Ochtera said Stone kept her focus on what she needed to do to make this season successful.
Stone helped her first-year coach with the team on and off the trails. Ochtera officially took over a few days into tryouts.
“She was extremely helpful, just getting me acclimated even within the school,” Ochtera said. “She really wants to see her teammates succeed. She really put her time in to make that happen.”
Ochtera said Stone does a good job getting the team motivated. She has been the team’s captain since her sophomore season and has seen the team come together.
“There has been a little bit of challenges, but mostly growing up through high school with this team has been a lot of fun,” Stone said. “I think it brought us really close with a lot of late-night races. We hangout in school as well.”
Stone hopes to continue to run cross country next year in college, but she doesn’t know yet if she will tryout for a varsity team or compete for a club team.