She came in dedicated, willing to work, like those who ran before her.
And now in late October, after finishing sixth in the District 3 Class AA girls' cross country race on Wednesday in Hershey, Littlestown High junior Elizabeth Reese continues to show why hard work shouldn't be overlooked.
Reese became the third Littlestown High female runner in the past four years to qualify for the PIAA Class AA meet by finishing in 20 minutes, 58 seconds. She was the highest Hanover-area placewinner on the day.
"She has dedicated herself. There's no doubt about it," Littlestown head coach Dan Lawrence said. "She watches what she eats. She's not one that's going to do this and not practice hard and let the other areas go by the wayside.
Sarah Schumaker was the last Lady Bolt to secure a bid to states, registering a 23rd-place finish in 2009. And Jess Branning, who graduated last year alongside Schumaker and Jessica Paholsky, recorded a state bid as a sophomore two years earlier.
But Reese's performance was by far the most impressive. Sixth place is the highest place a Littlestown girls' runner has accomplished.
"I'm excited because last year I was sick at this time and I finished in 24 minutes," Reese said. "So I'm really happy that I finished this way and improved by this much."
All three former runners left an imprint in Reese's mind. Not coincidentally, all three have continued to run in college.
"They worked hard and Liz saw that," Lawrence said. "She was just on the end of it. When they left, she was basically with herself until we got an influx of girls at the end of the season."
Yet Reese wasn't a lone standout. Along with the junior were a handful of other hopefuls that earned another week of action.
Fairfield sophomore Kaitlyn Beckham (21:07) crossed the finish line in eighth place and Bermudian Springs freshman Rachel Crane was 11th in 21:26), which meant both earned a trip to states fairly easily.
The state qualifying cutoff was set at 25 in the girls' AA race, so that also meant Delone Catholic senior Emily Resciniti came through with her second straight berth.
She clocked in at 22:10 and grabbed one of the final spots in AA with a 22nd-place finish.
With a field full of veterans, Beckham, Reese and Crane were just a few of the rookies vying for spots in the state meet.
"I had her projected to get here," Bermudian Springs head coach John Wardle said. "But she exceeded my expectations just a little bit."
In the large school girls' meet, New Oxford's Kaylee Kubisiak finished in 11th place by clocking in a time of 19:42.
After establishing her presence in the opening mile, Kubisiak said she felt good and continued to press. She eventually passed runners in the second mile, which led to a strong finish.
"You just have to run your pace," Kubisiak said. "And by the time I got to the second mile, it was all about picking off people."
In the boys' Class AA race, Delone Catholic senior Chris Sauvageau responded with his overall best race of the season, registering an eighth-place finish in 17:40.
At this time last year Sauvageau was reeling from a nagging injury. But fully recovered, the senior proved there were no remnants of doubt.
He, along with brother Xavier Sauvageau of Littlestown -- he finished 12th overall in 17:44 -- took out to a reasonable first-mile pace, but smartly pushed the pace
According to Delone Catholic head coach Scotty Watt, Sauvageau ran an opening 5:09 mile and then was at 11:00 by the second standard, which is exactly where his runner should have been.
"I think he wanted to validate that he was one of the better area runners," Watt said. "And I think he proved that today."
Sophomore Nick Poole, who came in 23rd overall and finished in 18:22, missed the final state qualifying bid by three runners.
Spring Grove's Andrew Rohrbaugh qualified for his third straight state berth, finishing in 17th place at 16:57. South Western sophomore Ryan Hertzog clocked in at 17:03, good for 24th place.
Just missing the AAA cut by five runners was Spring Grove senior Matt Shenk, who finished in 17:24.
At the two-mile mark he said he was about 60 runners deep, so a final push elevated him past several.
"I was 60-something," Shenk said. "I didn't want my season to end, so I gave it one final push."