County championships have become something of an expectation at Garden City. Six straight titles will do that. So when the team walked into St. Anthony's on Tuesday night, there was no question what was going through their minds.
"Defending the title was really important to us," sophomore Jen Gerland said. "We've been champions for so long and we didn't want this year to be the year we broke that streak."
It wasn't. Garden City scored 89 points on its way to a Class A title -- its seventh consecutive county championship.
"We have a program that we're able to get most of the kids to buy into," coach Erica Fregosi said. "We work on all the aspects of running, from speed, to endurance, to lifting."
Emma Gallagher won county championships in the 600 and 300. She was also part of the 4 x 800 relay team that won in 9 minutes, 53.64 seconds.
In the 300, Gallagher, who ran 40.07, crossed the finish line moments before her teammates Katie O'Neill and Laura Jaeger. Taking the top three spots in the event represented not only the Trojans' talent, but their depth, as well.
"As a whole, our program is really strong in a lot of events," Gallagher said. "We don't have just one person. We have a well-rounded team. You need points everywhere, so it's good to have a range [of abilities]."
Gallagher finished the 600 in 1:35.18. O'Neill, right behind her again, clocked in at 1:36.68.
"We both went out slower, but we finished strong," O'Neill said.
O'Neill's sister, Emily, placed second in the 1,000, finishing in 3:02.27. Gerland also scored in that event -- running a 3:08.94, good for fourth.
Scoring early in the meet was key to the victory.
"We talked about the importance of doing well in the individual events," Fregosi said. "Our game plan was to score at least where you were seeded, and, if you can, move up. The motto was 'run smart, then run hard.' "
Jaeger was one runner who moved up tremendously. Despite entering the 55 as the 12th seed, she finished second -- running a 7.64 and earning eight points.
"I was surprised because I wasn't supposed to place in that event," she said. "I guess I was just having a good day."
There's been a ton of good days lately for Garden City -- about seven years worth of them.