Sam Larson was motivated by the No. 18 here on Saturday.
That number represented Larson's pre-state cross country ranking in Class 3A.
Despite finishing ninth a season ago at state, the Humboldt junior was not expected - according to the experts - to repeat that feat.
Larson did just that for the Wildcats, placing seventh at Lakeside Golf Course for her second consecutive medal finish.
"I was hoping to get in the Top-10 again, but I wasn't very confident I would," Larson said. "Seeing the rankings, and that I was 18th, I thought it would be difficult for me to get that high again.
"That definitely motivated me, though, and I thought I ran a pretty strong race."
Anna Holdiman of Waverly-Shell Rock earned the individual state title, while Decorah captured team gold.
Algona's Tangy Wiseman placed 115th. Wiseman, a junior, was 14th last year and 35th as a ninth-grader.
Larson crossed home ahead of several runners who were rated ahead of her coming into state. She finished fourth at regionals to advance.
"That first mile was fast, and I kind of got in a pack after that," Larson said. "I'm very pleased with my performance overall."
With another year left, Larson said she hopes to build on this and "come back stronger next year. I'm excited I have another year to run."