The Westminster girls’ cross country team won its seventh consecutive Georgia High School Association (GHSA) state title and 32nd overall with a victory in the Class 3A competition Nov. 2 in Carrollton.
Leading the Wildcats’ effort was sophomore Mira Srinivasa, who won the individual competition with a time of 19 minutes, 49.17 seconds, which was more than nine seconds ahead of runner-up and teammate Palmer Walstad.
“It was special having the whole team there; (it) has more than 100 runners,” Srinivasa said. “Winning a state championship is tough so it was cool. I wasn’t expecting to win it individually at the beginning of the season.”
Westminster dominated the race from the start and saw three runners place high, including Janie Cooper (fifth). The three runners helped pace each other at the start.
“About a mile into the race I started to pull away from the group and started to realize that I could win the race,” Srinivasa said. “We meet as a team before every race about what we should do.”
Srinivasa’s efforts at the state meet helped earn her another high distinction in the prep cross country community, a spot on the Atlanta Track Club’s Powerade All-Metro Cross Country Team, which was announced Nov. 6. The team consists of the top 21 boys’ runners and 21 girls’ runners in metro Atlanta, and Srinivasa is one of only five overall sophomores on the list.
“That was really unexpected and didn’t know I was in consideration until being named on the team,” she said. “It’s cool to be part of such a great group of runners that I’ve looked up to and raced against.”
Srinivasa, who was also named to the Georgia Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s 3A all-state team, earlier in the season ran a time of 18:20, the fifth-fastest time for a Westminster runner in school history.
“Mira is respected and admired by her peers and our faculty,” Wildcats coach Amy Eubanks said. “She is an exceptional student-athlete. Mira approaches her academics with the same discipline and determination that she dedicates to her running.”
Srinivasa began attending Westminster in the sixth grade. She’s also a member of the school’s varsity swim team as well as the track and field squad, where she participates in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter run events.
“I began running track in middle school and heard good things about the cross country team dynamic here,” she said. “I tried cross country in the ninth grade and liked it. The sport can be an individual sport because you’re running in the middle of the woods by yourself, but you’re also with other people on the trail so it’s a good way to connect. I try to balance everything out.”
Off the field, Srinivasa is a member of the Circle of Women club at Westminster as well as tutoring middle school students. The daughter of Anand Srinivasa and Hayriye Ayhan lists math and science as her favorite classes and holds a 4.0 grade-point average.
Srinivasa said Shalene Flanagan, the winner of the 2017 New York City Marathon, is a favorite athlete. She plans to participate in the USA Track and Field Georgia High School Meet of Champions in Fayetteville Nov. 16 and the Foot Locker Cross Country South Regional Championships in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nov. 30.