RHINELANDER - Cross Country teams enter the postseason this weekend. Rhinelander runners are hoping to have their best race yet.
Their season has been leading up to this weekend's sectional meet in Waupaca. Rhinelander's top runner, Alayna Franson, knows what the state meet feels like and is hoping to get back there.
As the cross country season comes to a close and the air gets cooler, the competition heats up.
"I'm just hoping to stay with the front pack, get a good time, close to whoever is in the front," said Franson.
And for senior runner Alayna Franson, that means the battle to get to the state meet is on.
"I have really high hopes for myself, high goals, I want to make it to state hopefully place at state," said Franson.
And she has had a lot of success so far.
Franson just missed out on a top 10 medal at state last year with a 14th place finish.
Now a senior, she wants to finish off her final season with a trip to the podium.
"After state I said I'd really like to get on the podium and get on the top 10 so if I could get in the top 10 that'd be a huge goal of mine," said Franson.
But it's not going to be easy. First Franson has to get through a tough sectional.
"She'll be up against a really strong field and we're looking for the threepeat and go back to state. I think she's got a really good chance," said her coach MJ Laggis.
Franson's success on the course has made her four years memorable, but so have her teammates.
"The past four years my teammates have been so great and they've supported me throughout my career," said Franson.
Senior captain Markus Johnson has been on the team with Franson all four years.
The team improves, trains, and celebrates alongside one another.
"It's really nice to see all the kids grow and everyone on the team they all improve throughout the year. This is a sport you can definitely see the improvement," said Johnson.
While they might not be teammates for much longer, on Saturday, they'll all be running alongside each other.
"They've been there throughout every workout with me, pushing me, it's going to be pretty upsetting when this season ends," said Franson.
The top two teams at each sectional advance to the state meet. The top five runners not on one of those teams also advance. Alayna is hoping to be one of those individuals.