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Wading River runner propels North Carolina State to its first XC national championship

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She wanted one more season, one more shot at a national championship.

So Shoreham-Wading River alumna Allie Hays — already a graduate of Columbia University and a highly accomplished Ivy League cross country runner — took her talents and vast experience to Raleigh, North Carolina, this fall and joined an already star-studded Wolfpack lineup.

“I chose to come here for today,” Hays told the media in Tallahassee, Florida, moments after helping N.C. State secure its first XC national championship. “I had a lot of faith in these girls, even before I met them.”

Be sure to check out Hays’ post-race interview featured below.

The graduate transfer earned All-American status by finishing 22nd overall — and as the Wolfpack’s No. 3 runner — in the national championship race last month. Already an All-American from her time at Columbia, Hays was seen by many as the missing piece in N.C. State’s national title chase.

Her time in the 6,000-meter (3.7 miles) championship race on Nov. 20 was 19:48.2. It rivaled her personal best of 19:41.2, which she ran in her junior season, placing ninth at the NCAA Northeast Regionals in Buffalo in November 2019.

Hays, an economics major while at Columbia, earned All-American honors in track during her sophomore year there, placing 12th in the 5,000-meter national championship. She lost her senior season when the Ivy League cancelled 2020 competition over health and safety concerns related to COVID-19.

The 2017 Shoreham-Wading River graduate was a high school All-American in her junior and senior seasons running for the Wildcats. She incredibly collected 14 varsity letters as a Shoreham-Wading River student-athlete.

What made the national championship even more special for Hays and her teammates was that it came in head coach Laurie Henes‘ 30th year on the N.C. State coaching staff. Henes is in her third year as head coach of N.C. State’s women’s track & field and cross country teams.

Post-race interview

Below is a post-race interview of Hays, her teammates and their coach. Hays is questioned and speaks at the :40 mark of the video.

The full XC race

Click the play button below to watch the entire NCAA Division XC championship race, ran in Tallahassee, Florida, last month. That’s Allie Hays, front and center on the thumbnail image.

Photos of Hays

Below are photos of Allie Hays supplied by N.C. State Athletics.

Photos: Courtesy of N.C. State Athletics