Allen wins gold medal by more than 40 seconds at state meet

Updated: Nov 3

Prairie View sophomore Bree Allen cruised to a first-place finish at the Kansas Class 3A Cross Country Championship meet on Saturday at Rim Rock north of Lawrence. Her time of 18:56.5 in the 5 kilometer race was more than 40 seconds ahead of the second-place competitor. (Screen capture, Prairie View USD 362 Facebook)

LAWRENCE – In a video clip of the Class 3A State Cross Country Championship race at the Rim Rock course north of Lawrence, Bree Allen strides strongly down a slope as she heads the finish line. She is alone with no other runners in sight.

As she enters the “funnel” of barriers set up to both keep the crowd back and narrow a large group of runners as they reach the finish line, the announcer claims her to be the 2022 State Champion even as she runs the last 50 meters of the 5K course.

A sophomore at Prairie View who earned a runner-up medal at last year’s state race in Wamego, Allen makes the run seem almost effortless as she crosses the finish line. Even then, with a time of 18 minutes 56.5 seconds, she finishes more than 40 seconds ahead of the second-place runner.

It’s a scenario that her coaches, teammates, parents, and other followers have witnessed throughout the fall as she has consistently won meet after meet, usually by a wide margin. But this time, she pushed herself harder, knocking more than a minute off her usual time on a course designed to challenge high school and college runners alike.

“It was an exciting day at Rim Rock for the state meet,” said Marcie Caldwell, head coach of the Prairie View team. “The atmosphere itself is very special with all the runners there for one common goal.”

“Watching Bree in the 3A Girls race was honestly like watching her in every other race, except with a really big prize at the end of this one,” Caldwell said. “She ran smart, not worrying about the lead for the first half mile or so. Then she made her move and from there, just kept increasing the distance between her and the second-place runner.”

The Prairie View women’s team was edged out of a return trip to the state meet this year at the regionals the week prior to the state meet. The regionals featured several teams who qualified for the 2021 state meet, but only three teams would advance to the state meet.

But that didn’t stop the team from traveling to Rim Rock to support their top runner.

“When she came across the finish line I was there to greet her, and her teammates came flying around the corner of the chute, basically leaping over anything in their path, screaming and laughing and they grabbed her up in a big group hug. It was beautiful,” Caldwell said.

While Allen made the state winning run look like she was cruising to victory, the gold medal is the result of endless kilometers of training that goes almost year round.

“Bree trains with consistency, using each workout to its fullest potential,” Caldwell said. “If I say do an extra run or two over the weekend, she does it.

“She and the team spent the summer running, and she’ll begin training for track well before season starts. Beyond natural talent, it takes a lot of hard work to compete at the level Bree does and she is not afraid of hard work.”

Last year as a freshman, Allen consistently picked up gold medals in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs for Prairie View in track. Mid-season she began running 800-meters as well, winning on her first attempt.

Now, with track season a little more than three months away, no one expects Bree Allen, now widely recognized as one of the state’s premier distance runners, to rest on her laurels.

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