Ever since she first stepped foot at Mansfield University, there has been one big goal in mind for Jess Scordino.

The junior has thought about nationals, she's worked hard to try and get to nationals and in the past she has come oh so close to making it to nationals.

There were high hopes when this cross country season began.

Hopes that this would be the year.

Hopes that the Mansfield women would have a dominant season.

Hopes that all started to fade because of injuries.

After missing three weeks because of an injury, Scordino's dreams of nationals started to fade away and instead she just wanted to get back out and run again.

"I commented to my mom when she asked about nationals that after three weeks of running, nationals was out the window," Scordino said.

After everything that happened during the cross country season as his squad was hit hard by injuries, Mansfield coach Mike Rohl was happy to see Scordino earn Saturday's trip to Missouri for nationals.

"I'm more surprised than anything," Rohl said. "With this season and what we went through I felt when she made it a little bit of shock and relief."

Rohl knows that one of the big keys is that Scordino put in the time and energy to get to this point.

"Everyone is good at working hard when it's what they like to do. And, runners, they like to run," Rohl said. "But, it's about how hard you work when it's what you have to do. Runners don't like to work in the pool or the elliptical, but that's what she had to do."

Scordino knows that a lot of this is her determination to do the things she sets out to accomplish.

"I'm a very determined person," she said. "When I set my mind to do something, I will do it. I feel accomplished. I looked at everybody else that was hurt this year. I gave myself a minute to feel down, but that is it. I didn't want them to see me get down. I knew we needed someone to have a positive mindset."

Scordino knows that injuries are a part of the sport and that it was about making sure to keep working.

"Every runner has injuries, every runner goes through things like this, you can get through it as long as you don't give up."

As one injury after another hit the Mountaineers this year, Rohl started to just try and get everyone healthy for the postseason.

"It was a weird year, I haven't seen this many small injuries as we had on this team," he said. "As the season went on, the goal became let's just get everyone healthy by the end of the season so they are healthy for track."

Rohl is happy with the decisions he made in trying to take things slow with Scordino during the season.

"I felt like I really did make all the right decisions," he said. "It feels good to see that the decisions I made paid off. Jess still had to put in the work, and she did, and she earned this, but it also felt good for me to know the decisions I made were the right ones."

After coming so close to making nationals in the past, it's been hard for it to set in that Scordino is heading to nationals.

"It definitely is amazing," she said. "I still feel like I will get a phone call and say I'm not running. Until I get to the start line, until I cross the finish line, I won't feel like it's real."

The dream for Scordino has always been to make it to nationals with her twin sister Kristy.

While that didn't happen, Kristy did earn all-region honors at regionals but missed nationals, Jess Scordino knows her sister played a huge role in her making it.

Both Jess and Kristy were battling injuries at the same time and they both returned for nationals where Kristy helped push Jess to nationals.

"Having Christy there pushes me so much," she said. "I never want anyone else to be injured, but having her there, with us going through the same thing, we pushed each other."

As Jess fought back some tears because of what her sister did for her, she talks about how Kristy was one of things that pushed her at regionals.

"She helped me get there," she said. "Kristy went out a little harder than she is used to so she could run with me. To have her there the first almost two miles, that helped a lot. It wasn't just her though, the whole team helped so much, everyone was so supportive."

For Jess it's going to be a lot different heading to nationals without her sister.

"It won't be the same," she said. "We always push each other, we always yell to each other to go. We always push each other. I wish she could go with me. She had her injury and she came back and she ran really well. I know she is a little disappointed in herself because she finished higher last year, but she gave everything she had."

And, she will certainly be one of the people on Jess's mind this weekend.

"I will call her the second I finish," she said.

Going into regionals there were a lot of nerves for Jess Scordino coming off an injury.

"I was very scared," she said.

Now, that she has run a race and is back from her injury she has some big goals for this weekend.

"I want to be All-American," she said. "I am going there looking to be an All-American."

While her sister and teammates won't be there running with her, it's something she has experienced before.

"It's definitely different, but I ran the 10K last year and broke Charity Learn's record running alone," Scordino said. "I won't have my teammates, but I know Vicki Davis (of Bloomsburg) and she will be my roommate there and I have run against her and I know Edinboro made it and I have run against them."

And, Scordino will have family cheering her on.

"My dad is flying down to see me race," she said. "It feels so good that I made it. I made him proud."

While Scordino earned a place in nationals with her performance, she also set a good example for the other runners at Mansfield.

"I hope so, I hope they see that no matter what happens if you keep a positive attitude and don't give up then you can do anything."