When Lexi Bohms entered Princeton High School as a freshman, she followed in the footsteps of her brothers and joined the cross country team.
“I originally joined cross country because my brothers did it so I just did it too,” Bohms said. “But I didn’t really enjoy it as much. I was just kind of doing it because my brothers did it and I stuck to it because I was good at it.”
That changed this summer as she prepared for her senior season.
“I started using runner as an outlet over the summer and then it actually became something that I enjoyed more,” Bohms said. “(I’d run) just when I was stressed out about stuff or anything like that and even if I was just bored.
“I started running on my own and it definitely showed in my times this year, so I was happy with that.”
Bohms’ extra training paid off from the start of the season.
She ran 36 seconds better at the Oregon Open this season than she did last fall. Bohms ran better at every big race – Gary Coates Invitational (59 seconds better), Rock River Run (20 seconds), Peoria Invitational (21 seconds), Sterling Invitational (1:09), Patriot Invitational (58 seconds) and the Class 1A Oregon Sectional (8 seconds).
Bohms placed third at the Three Rivers Conference Meet and fifth in the Gary Coates Invitational.
She finished 13th at the Class 1A Seneca Regional before placing 19th at the Oregon Sectional to earn a return trip to the state meet.
Bohms capped her career with a 113th-place finish in 20:04.3 at state.
For all she accomplished this season, Bohms is the NewsTribune Girls Country Runner of the Year for the third consecutive season.
“I was really happy with my season because I did improve from last year on my times throughout the season,” Bohms said. “I really did enjoy the whole season this year with the team. I was able to enjoy running more this year. The team played a big factor. We had a really close-knit team this year. I was able to more so put my heart into it this year and I just had a lot more fun that way.”
Coming off track season, Bohms ran nearly every day at the beginning of the season as she was training for a 5K.
After she “lost it for a bit,” she was training five days per week before getting into summer training with the Princeton cross country team.
Bohms said seeing her training pay off with a big time drop at the first meet gave her a confidence boost.
“In years past I have not been in shape,” Bohms said. “I had to work my way back there. But for our first meet, my time was a lot better than previous years because I was actually ready.
“Just seeing that I improved from last year, I definitely was more confident in running.”
Being in better shape and more confident, Bohms was able to finish her career with a strong season.
“About every meet except state, she was faster than she was last year, so it was overall her best season,” Princeton coach Pat Hodge said.
In her career, Bohms was First-Team All-Three Rivers Conference four times, finished in the top 15 in regionals three times and was Princeton’s first two-time individual state qualifier in 20 years.
“She was very coachable and it’s been a pleasure to have her on the team,” Hodge said. “She just had an excellent career. She’s one of our top 12-15 female runners we’ve had at Princeton.”
Bohms plans to continue her career in college.
“Hopefully, with more intense training, I’m hoping to cut my times down and continue to enjoy running,” Bohms said.