October and November were good months for Cony’s Anne Guadalupi. Good thing, too.

Because August and September couldn’t have been much worse.

Not after the back injury that had the senior grimacing and holding back when she was supposed to be speeding up. Or the sprained ankle that sent shooting pain with each step. Or the letdown at the Festival of Champions, when both maladies combined to make Guadalupi wonder if she was in the middle of a lost season.

“It’s one of the biggest races of the year, and I was just kind of upset that it all turned out that way,” she said. “But there were other races to come.”

That ray of optimism became the groundwork for a stirring finish that salvaged the season. Guadalupi was excellent in the year’s biggest races, finishing second in the KVAC girls’ championship and Class A North regional championship, as well as fifth in the Class A state race.

“I was really happy with how I raced, especially because, in the past, I haven’t had too many successful championship meets,” she said. “They’ve all gone downhill. Ending it on a good note was exciting for me.”

For her comeback this season, Guadalupi is the Kennebec Journal Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Guadalupi sprained her back in the last week of August, and after running through it for three weeks, finally took a week off after it failed to improve. The rest helped her back and allowed her to resume training, but she only made it a week before spraining her ankle during a Monday practice — with the Festival of Champions, Maine’s largest regular-season meet, coming up that Saturday.

“I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to run,” she said.

She made it, but at nowhere near full strength. With her ankle throbbing and her back not fully healed yet, Guadalupi was an also-ran at 30th. The injuries slowed her physically, but perhaps more importantly, they drained her focus.

“I had to take a few days off so I could limp on it at least, and I think that got to me mentally,” she said. “Maybe physically I wasn’t completely ready, but it was definitely a mental thing for me.”

Guadalupi recovered physically by training on exercise bikes and ellipticals, but said she corrected her mindset by leaning on her teammates, who collectively supported their ailing leader.

“I used my teammates as driving forces. They were very dedicated, and just passionate about the sport. I was like ‘If they can do it, I can do it,’ ” she said. “It’s very hard to do something by yourself without any help from your teammates or peers. But my teammates were very supportive of one another, and I think that’s kind of what got me through the tough times.”

By the time the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championships rolled around, Guadalupi was ready. She finished second overall in the race at her home Cony course, notching a time of 20:09 that was a personal best at the course.

“I kind of just threw myself into it,” she said. “It was one of my best races and the one I’m most proud of. Nerves aren’t a bad thing, but I didn’t let the nerves get to me. I felt confident, I felt excited, and I just wanted to run because I love running, and it paid off.

“That’s kind of what got me through the rest of the season. Just that excitement about my performance.”

After wondering if her year would ever get started, Guadalupi now couldn’t be slowed. She came in second at the Class A North championship race at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast — the site of her Festival of Champions frustrations — and then took a top-five finish at the Class A state championships at the same course.

It was a finish she could be proud of, especially considering the setbacks she had to endure to achieve it.

“When you put it in perspective that way, it does put my mind at ease and realize that we all go through adversity,” she said. “We can’t be as hard on ourselves as we want to be sometimes.”

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