When she was in grade school, Lexi Bohms attended Princeton cross country meets to watch her brothers Zach and Reece run for the Tigers.
“I thought it was really cool,” Bohms said. “It did look hard, but my brother was always telling me how much he loved the sport. Finally, he convinced me to do it. I’m glad he did.”
When Bohms was a freshman, Reece was a senior and the siblings would go on training runs together. Both brothers have offered Bohms advice on her running.
“When I was a freshman, my brother [Reece] would always take me out on his runs and give me a lot of tips about hills and mindset,” Bohms said. “My brother [Zach] always encouraged me on mindset. He’d say, ‘Once you feel like you’re done, that means you need to push even harder.’”
Bohms had that on her mind – along with coming up short of state as a freshman – as she began to tire at the Class 1A Oregon Sectional.
“Oh yeah [I thought about that], especially going up one of the hills on the course,” Bohms said. “I felt like I was done, but I was like, ‘I need to push harder.’
“I thought about how it would all be over in a couple minutes, and I just needed to keep going.”
The Princeton junior pushed herself to an 18th-place finish at the sectional to earn a state berth.
At state, she ran a personal best 19:15.9 to place 72nd, the ninth-best place in PHS girls cross country history.
Also this season, Bohms was the runner-up at three meets, finished third at the Three Rivers Conference Meet, placed top 25 at the Princeton, Bureau Valley and Sterling invitationals and took seventh at the St. Bede Regional.
For all she accomplished this season, Bohms is the 2021 NewsTribune Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.
She also was co-NewsTribune Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year last season with former teammate Jenna Loftus.
“I was very pleased with it,” PHS coach Pat Hodge said about Bohms’ season. “Most of the year she was ahead of where she was two years ago the last time we had a full season. Then she really came on at the end with her regional, sectional and state runs.”
Bohms ended a more than decade-long state meet drought for the PHS girls as Haley Adams was the last Tigress to qualify, in 2010.
“I was really happy,” Bohms said about qualifying for state. “It was a new experience. I really wanted it and really pushed for it this year.
“I really felt good about myself once I found out [it had been 11 years since a PHS girl qualified].”
Bohms really had to push herself at the sectional after a rough start.
“We didn’t get out doing our warmups when we were supposed to, so we were already in a rush, and when we got to our starting box, I realized I still had to put the spikes in my shoes,” Bohms said. “It took me forever to get them in because there was mud stuck in the holes. I didn’t get an actual stretch in or warmup. I got the spikes in right before we had to run. I didn’t know how it was going to work out.”
Hodge said Bohms was in 23rd place at the mile mark, which he figured was about where the last individual state-qualifying spot would be, so he yelled to her, “You’re right where you need to be. I think you have a shot.”
“I heard my coach yell just a couple people more and I would qualify,” Bohms said. “I knew I needed to keep pushing.”
She did, just like her brothers taught her, and it earned Bohms her first state trip, which she plans to use as motivation to increase her training this offseason.
“I loved it,” Bohms said about state. “It was a very exciting experience. During my race, all I could think about was how excited I was. The adrenaline was pumping through my veins. There were tons of people. It was very good.
“I hope I’ll be able to go next year. I’m going to try to train a lot more in the offseason so I do have that chance of going again. That’s what I’ll be thinking about all season.”