Cross Country News
Jessica Mildes of Spokane named 2012 NWAACC Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Year
By John William Howard
When Spokane Cross Country head coach Sean Mclachlan heard that home town high school star Jessica Mildes was considering attending the Community Colleges of Spokane, he knew that his window of opportunity was open.
"I knew she was a good student, and I just figured that she would go elsewhere and so we didn't pursue her that much," said McLachlan. "Then she filled out one of our recruiting questionnaires, and as soon as I saw that I was like 'Oh, yeah. Need to get all over that.'"
McLachlan called Mildes soon afterwards, and the next fall, Mildes broke the tape in her home town of Spokane, leading her teammates to a second place finish at the 2012 NWAACC Cross Country Championships, and putting the finishing touches on a performance that would win her the distinction of Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Year.
Mildes had several reasons for attending Spokane, but one that both her and McLachlan mentioned was a desire to stay close to home. Mildes was a home school student in high school, and continues to live at home with her parents, who were on hand with her sister, grandparents and a handful of high school teammates to watch Mildes win the championship last November.
"It was a cool experience," said Mildes. " I was glad they could be there and experience that with me. They have always been super supportive of me and they always believe I can do more than I think I can do."
Both a star on athlete and a 4.0 student in the classroom, Mildes' focus is on her school work for now, but at the same time there is still room for improvement next season.
Coach McLachlan recognized the danger of a slump after a fantastic freshman season, and said that there are several goals to look forward to next year, despite winning the league title by 40 seconds. The school record, which sits at 17.49, is just ten seconds below Mildes' time at the championships, something that McLachlan said he would like to see her break. In addition, there will be plenty of races that will give Mildes the opportunity to pit herself against competition from four-year programs.
"Every race presents a different goal that can be met," said McLachlan. "Maybe that's racing against (Washington State University) and some of the other four year schools... [but] we go against a lot of good competition, so she'll get a chance to see where she's at."
Mildes plans to return to Spokane for her sophomore season, and says that she hasn't done too much looking at four year universities, but that she would like to attend Gonzaga and Eastern Wasthington, both of which are in the immediate area.