Minneapolis Washburn High's Emily Covert was ready for The Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday.
All the junior did was take her first win on the University of Minnesota's Les Bolstad Golf Course in the girls gold race, surging past highly touted Winona Cotter (Minnesota) freshman Grace Ping in the final 2K to win in 18:13.0
"Super nervous coming into the race, but now I'm so excited to finish out the season," Covert said.
This was Covert's fifth appearance at the annual event, but undoubtedly her best performance yet. In her debut race in 2013, Covert won the Maroon race in 19:00.00.
"I wasn't looking for a PR, because the weather and it's Griak, so it's super hilly," she said. "But staying behind the leaders and maybe making a move (was my plan)."
While Covert didn't go out with the leaders at first, she made her move late and held in the final stretches, keeping within an arm's length distance the second-place Ping, who finished in 18:20.8. Farmington (Minnesota) High's Anna Fenske, the defending class 2A champion, was third in 18:31.4.
"That definitely helped me a lot," she said. "It would help anyone honestly to have people up there. Those girls are so strong. They're great runners. Just being sure that I was right behind them set me up well."
Covert said the win built the confidence to move forward with the same strength later in the season.
"I feel great," she said. "I thank everyone who's helped gotten me. This moment is unreal."