Bishop sets school record at state meet

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Perryville junior Tegan Bishop was disappointed in her finish at last year’s state meet, when she finished 75th overall.
Her latest result should leave her smiling. Bishop set a Perryville girls cross country record as she finished with a time of 19 minutes, 22 seconds, which was good for 19th overall in the Class 4 state meet at the Gans Creek Course in Columbia Friday. The time was eight seconds faster than the previous record set by Courtney Wright in 2019.
“Tegan is a unique athlete in that you always know she is going to do well, but it’s hard to quantify how fast she can go,” Perryville cross country coach Shadrick Shafer said. “She has so much power and she is so competitive that you never know how far she can push herself until she gets out on the course.”
The strategy for the race was simple for Bishop as the plan was start fast and get out with the lead group. Shafer felt like Bishop was nervous and held herself back as a sophomore.
“The plan was to go out fast and not hold anything back,” Shafer said. “That is something that every runner struggles with in a race. They know that they have trained well and done everything they can, but they will still hold themselves back because they are worried about running out of steam.”
Bishop didn’t do any such thing, as she was still passing runners in the last 1,000 meters.
“She passed four runners at the end of the race,” Shafer said. “If she had another 50 meters she would have passed a couple more. The Gans Creek Course works to my team’s advantage because we do a lot of hills. The hills on the course feed into one another and allows you to build some momentum into the next one.”
The finish at the state meet is a culmination of the work Bishop has put in from the beginning of the summer. According to Shafer, Bishop logged more than 700 miles from the start of the season until now. That work helped Bishop claim six first place medals in the regular season, including the St. Vincent Cross Country meet and the Perryville Invitational.
“You kind of saw it come across her face at the 3K mark,” Shafer said. “She slid outside of the pack she was with and kicked it into another gear. She weaved in and out of the field and started picking up spots and that was with about 40 percent of the race left.”
Bishop ran just 20:36 in the Class 4, District 1 race one week prior in Hillsboro on a course that Shafer said was “not in the best of conditions to say the least.” The course in Columbia, which hosted the SEC Conference meet this year, is impeccably maintained and allowed Bishop to run her best race of the season and the best in school history.
Bishop will have her senior season to attempt to improve on her record time.
For now, Bishop will rest and move right into track and field in the spring to work on her “speed endurance.”
In that time, Shafer will continue to work on more challenging workouts in the fall for Bishop. However, that is harder than it sounds.
“The sky is the limit for her,” Shafer said. “There has not been a workout that I have put out there for here that she hasn’t finished up smiling.”

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