* Sue Cleveland's (NM) Leah Futey at the Desert Twilight XC Festival
Photo Credit: David McBee/Arizona MileSplit
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Senior year is the time to go out with a bang.
And Leah Futey of Sue Cleveland (NM) High School is ready to do just that at the Garmin RunningLane Cross Country Championships in Huntsville, Alabama on Dec. 3.
Despite having a few setbacks last year with a low iron deficiency, the 2022 New Mexico cross country state champion said she is excited to take on the John Hunt Park course for the first time in her career.
"The fast times coming from Hunstville is an attraction," Futey said recently. "I've seen the fast times that come from that course and the level of competition is great. It's exciting to be racing there with the top level of competition."
Within the last two years, cross country fans witnessed history on the course, starting with Jenna Hutchins' national high school 5K record in 2020 and then Newbury Park's show in 2022, as the California team put together a 14:14 5K team average, best ever in high school history.
Futey said she couldn't pass up the opportunity to take on this experience.
Historically, Futey has embraced competition outside New Mexico, traveling last year to the Eastbay West Regional and the 2019 Team Southwest Regional Championships. She's also competed indoors at Virginia Beach, doing so at adidas Indoor Nationals in 2021.
"The experiences really just shaped me a lot, like being able to travel to different places and experience different girls to race against on different courses," Futey said. "Over the years, I think [traveling outside of New Mexico] really benefited me to get to where I am today."
On December 3, Futey will lace her spikes for the final time this cross country season.
She says she's hopeful that, with her training and her grit on the course, she can be among the leaders at this year's event.