Jungling leads victorious A-P girls cross country (PHOTOS)

Aplington-Parkersburg's Sophia Jungling has her eyes on the finish line as she finished off an individual victory at Pine Lake Country Club in Eldora last Thursday. The Falcons also finished first as a team. (Jake Ryder photo)

ELDORA – Before cross country season started, Sophia Jungling had to face one of her toughest challenges yet.


Jungling was training hard in the preseason, ready to return for her senior season with Aplington-Parkersburg girls cross country as the Falcons seek a fourth-consecutive trip to the state cross country meet.


As has been the case for the three-time state track champion and three-time state cross country medalist, her mind was always thinking of ways to push herself in her training. But during a recent run, she knew something was physically wrong.


"All of a sudden, … I dropped. Completely passed out," Jungling said. "I thought it was a one-time thing, and then it kept happening."


Uncertainty creeps in. Jungling misses the first meet of the cross country season at Maynes Grove in Hampton as she looks for an answer to the frequent fainting.


Tests reveal that Jungling's blood pressure is plummeting when she's running. She's since made diet changes to keep her blood pressure more balanced and was fully cleared for last Thursday's Pine Lake Invitational in Eldora.


"It's a scary thing going into the senior season," Jungling said. "There are all these expectations, these goals that I set for myself and my team."


Jungling and the Falcons took on the relentlessly-hilly course at Pine Lake Country Club, surely a daunting test for any runner.


Just by watching Jungling run, it would've been difficult to diagnose anything. She was 54 seconds faster than the field on Thursday, winning in 20:42.


Most importantly to her, her medalist performance helped lift A-P to a team title in a 10-team field featuring several ranked teams, including the Falcons.


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