“It felt phenomenal; it was like drinking a whole thing of Sun Drop,” Lee said.
Lee was up against 116 of the fastest high school runners in Texas at the state meet in Round Rock at Old Settlers Park on Saturday, Nov. 9. Lee was less than a minute behind the first place runner who finished with 11:40.95.
She said it was difficult at first to compete against the runners who were much older and more experienced because she got boxed in during the race.
Roughly one month into her first semester as a high school student is when Lee first realized she was able to out-run her competition, as she placed first in the Poteet meet on Sept. 28.
“It was awesome knowing I could beat older runners,” Lee said. “It was like eating a big old meal.”
Her coach, Tony Taylor, said this year has been a learning year for Lee, but he pointed out several highlights from her first season as a high school runner.
She went on to place first in Three Rivers, Beeville and in Bandera with a time of 12:38. She placed sixth in Devine but went on to win Districts with 12:46. Regionals were a little rough according to Taylor, but she managed to place 10th with 12:21.7.
“Blaye worked really hard this year in order to get to state as a freshman,” Taylor said. “It didn’t matter if it was mileage day, hills, intervals or treadmill day, she brought a focus and intensity to get better each day.”
Her practices take her around the school’s track and through neighborhoods in Tilden, sometimes with a friend’s dog as a running partner. She said she typically runs at least two miles a day, six days a week.
“There’s no telling how many miles I run,” Lee said.
Lee also competes on the McMullen track team in the 800-meter and one-mile events. Her personal best times are 2:33 for the 800-meter, 5:50 for one mile and 12:21 for two miles.
“I would like to chop off 20 seconds for next year,” Lee said. “I’m going to work harder and train more.”
Taylor has watched Lee progress since eighth grade and said he appreciates the support the school has given her, particularly during their send-off before the state meet.
Lee started running cross country in seventh grade after a friend encouraged her to join the team, with Tracy Dawson as the coach.
“I don’t know how I am so fast; I am just blessed,” Lee said. “Cross country is interesting, you get to push yourself to see what you have in your tank.”
She said she wants to attend Missouri University due to their girls cross country program.
“She has a very bright future, and we look forward to (seeing) great things from her,” Taylor said.