Hannah Shaha’s state title may have surprised some, but for the Chugiak sophomore, it represented a culmination of months of hard work.
Shaha gradually separated herself from the rest of the field at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Cross Country Running Championships, conquering the 5-kilometer course in 19 minutes, 19 seconds.
One year ago, Shaha was still fine-tuning her skills at the junior varsity level, dropping her times and improving with each race. After closing out her freshman year at the state track meet, the Mustang was eager to continue writing the legacy Chugiak has built as the two-time defending champions.
After moving up the ranks and inking her first varsity win at the Cook Inlet Conference Championships, Shaha felt confident in pushing toward the next level.
“Every race is a new race so it’s just been amazing I’ve been able to do so well,” said Shaha.
On Saturday, Shaha was thrilled to race, even after first arising around 5am.
“It kind of felt like Christmas morning a little bit,” said Shaha. “I was really excited — it felt like the same nerves as any other race.”