Salem High School Cross Country runner returns to State for 4th year in a row, first girl’s cross country athlete to do so since ’88

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Salem, Va. (WFXR) — Salem High School cross country athlete and senior, Anna Pitts is doing something that hasn’t been done at her school in 33 years.

“I am incredibly grateful that I have had Anna Pitts as our Senior Captain and leader on the team. She has worked incredibly hard this season, she has been a phenomenal leader and she just recently qualified for the state meet as an individual qualifier for the fourth year in a row, which hasn’t happened since 1988.”

Kirsten Rezac, Varsity Girls Salem Cross Country Coach 

The last Salem High School cross country runner to qualify for the girls Virginia state championships all four years was Lori Archer. This year, Anna Pitts gladly continues the legacy.

“Throughout my four years I’ve gotten a lot more mental strength and just the motivation to keep training and to keep pushing. At the beginning of the season or this year, I really had no idea if I’d even have a season at all.”

Anna Pitts, Salem High School four- year cross country state qualifier

Even with all the uncertainties due to COVID, Anna’s dedication to training paid off. 

This year’s 4A, Region D qualification standards differed from years prior. Instead of taking the top three teams and top five individual qualifiers, only the top two teams and three individual qualifiers advanced to state. Anna fought for that third spot with a 5k time of 21 minutes and 53 seconds. She’ll be the sole athlete representing Salem this weekend at the state meet in Leesburg.

Anna and her Coach Kristen Rezac have been training for Saturday’s big meet.

“We’ve been trying to improve her speed so that if she’s coming down to the wire with someone she has the opportunity to really race until the end.”

Kirsten Rezac, Varsity Girls Salem Cross Country Coach 

Anna will take on an entirely new course but ultimately it has been the getting there. Anna says she’s grateful to her coaches, Tom Roth and Kirsten Rezac, as well as her fellow athletes for pushing her.

“It’s been a really fun four years. I’ve had so many great coaches and so many great teammates and I really just had a great time.”

Anna Pitts, Salem High School four- year cross country state qualifier

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