I started running because I wanted to be just like my dad. He ran in and won local 5k races and I dreamed of one day beating him. I didn't like running though; it was far too hard. However, I am extremely competitive so I would still run just because I wanted to win. I decided to focus on sprinting and only run distance when I absolutely had to, during instances where I would race my dad. Going into seventh grade, the beginning of school sports, a friend convinced me to go out for the softball team. There were no other fall sports offered at my school so I decided I would. Then, the high school cross country coach approached me and asked if I would be interested in being on the first ever Brookfield Middle School cross country team. I thought it matched my skill set better than softball so I was game.
I had no idea what to expect, but after my first race it was clear that I could hold my own, so I started to gain confidence in distance running. I still focused on sprinting during track season though, breaking the seventh and eighth grade 100m hurdle records and the 22-year-old eighth grade 400m record. During my freshman year I finally beat my dad in a 5k and placed fifth at state cross country, but despite my successes, this season broke my heart. I was devastated that I didn't win state because I expected to do just that and fell short. That's when long distance running hooked me: when I knew I had more left to give and I had a deeper desire to compete. I worked harder than I ever had and it paid off in my following track and cross country seasons. I captured various school records, state titles, and was named on the Missouri Milesplit All-Decade Class 2 Cross Country team. I have still faced a lot of adversity amid these achievements, including bursitis, a pinched plica band, and other various medical setbacks which all really challenged me to grow when I didn't want to. Today, I am stronger than I have ever been because of these challenges and for that I am grateful. I have learned great work-ethic and grit by being the only runner on my cross country teams, the only long distance runner in track, and without a boys team, I have learned to push myself during training. My love and passion for this sport is endless and I hope to continue running in college and see how far I can push past my limits academically and athletically.