OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — St. Thomas Aquinas junior boys & girls cross country Ethan Marshall & Olivia Sovereign are starting to get the recognition they were looking for.
Both were recently named the Gatorade Kansas Boys & Girls Cross Country Player of the Year respectively after having stellar seasons.
Olivia has won back-to-back Kansas Class 5A individual state championships after finishing as a state runner-up her freshman year. Additionally, she placed 12th in the 2017 Nike Cross Regionals and clocked the fastest time of any Kansas runner at 17:44.61. Her confidence is beginning to show through her performance.
"It's just amazing because like for so long, like I've been close to the top," Olivia said. "But, there's always been girls that have been so far ahead of me. And, it's just, it's amazing to know that like, I'm up there and I can hang with them during races."
Ethan has been part of a powerhouse boys cross country squad that has won four straight state championships as a team. He also won the 2017 Kansas Class 5A individual state championship, was the Class 5A regional champion along with being the East Kansas League champion and KC Cross Country Classic Champion.
Ethan also took part in the 2017 Nike Cross Regionals where he finished 10th and had the fastest time of any Kansas runner at 15:16.80. He knows the sky is the limit for him. But, he says others have certainly helped him along the way.
"These guys [are] pushing me, you know, to my limits in workouts and just everyday stuff like lifting and all that," Ethan said. "It's awesome and, you know, they made me who I am and I couldn't have done this without them.
St. Thomas Aquinas Cross Country & Track Head Coach Justin Wrigley has seen a lot of great runners in his time. He says that Ethan and Olivia rank right up there with some of the best. He feels a big reason for that is both of their abilities to make everyone around them better.
"Ethan works hard and he makes his teammates better. And, Olivia works hard. And then, she's present everyday and makes her teammates better. And, it kind of just overlaps the guys' team and the girls' team. It just kind of this big unit of hardworking kids," Wrigley said.