Cross Country: Mavs freshman Goffena setting an early pace

Megan Woodward
Contact ReporterCarroll County Times

Rubie Goffena was racing well ahead of the group of girls during a cross country tri-meet between Century, Manchester Valley and Westminster at Man Valley on Wednesday.

The Mavericks freshman maintained her stride — despite the heat — and crossed the finish line first in 22 minutes, 17.6 seconds.

She was all alone.

“I was very tired and it was a really hot day,” Goffena said, with a smile. “I felt great, I love cross country so much, it’s my favorite sport.”

The Mavericks’ rookie runner isn’t a stranger to running.

Goffena joined the Westminster Track Club youth team, and did track and field at first. The club formed a cross country team and she eventually competed in her first race when she was 10 or 11 years old. Goffena said she was nervous that day at Brunswick High School.

It was hot, and she was unsure how she would perform.

Wednesday’s race didn’t seem to wrack Goffena’s nerves. She has already fallen in love with running and plans to continue that through her high school career, and hopefully beyond.

Her willingness to run comes from some personal motivation.

Goffena said one of her friends suffers from epilepsy. Another reason for her determination comes from a former running coach, who Goffena said died from cancer.

“I run for her since she can’t do some of the things that other people can do,” Goffena said. “I think of her when I run. My original coach … I think about him too. It’s great motivation for me.”

Goffena trained over the summer with her mother, father and sister and said they’re a running family. Many of those days were spent at Leister Park in Hampstead running up to five miles or so and the Mavs’ varsity rookie said those hot summer days were worth it.

Prior to the meet, Mavericks coach Nancy Hayes said Goffena “fits her name” and said she is a “sweet girl.” A few of Goffena’s teammates walked past her after the race and many offered words of encouragement in honor of her performance.

Goffena said she played soccer when she was 5 years old, but plans to focus solely on cross country now that she’s older. The Mavericks have formed a close team, she said, and the pasta parties are an additional bonus.

“I want to just keep improving my times, that’s my number one goal,” Goffena said. “I want to get with the team and stuff and have a close-bonded team, I’m really excited for that.”

Westminster senior Erin McGrath finished second and Century’s Elise Greenwald came in third on Wednesday.

Goffena cleared the field by 90 seconds, but the Owls and Knights tied for the team lead with 33 points. Man Valley was next with 71.

Century had four girls finish in the top eight; Westminster had four in the top nine.

Century senior Zachary Fenton finished first in the boys race, and the Knights won with 18 points. Jacob Havins was second, Nicholas Simon took fourth, and Hogan Mower was fifth.

Charlie Ferguson was third for the Owls (second, 45 points). Gabe Szybalski was 12th for the Mavericks.

mwoodward@carrollcountytimes.com

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