Who: Grace Williams, freshman
Sport: Girls’ track
Why did you start running?
Because my dad and grandfathers from both sides ran track, and they encouraged me to run from a young age. I guess I was also born with the natural ability to run, so it just came naturally to me.
What is your biggest accomplishment in track so far?
Running a five and a half minute mile. It was something I had been working toward for a long time and it felt really good when I finally accomplished it.
What are some of your goals for track?
My ultimate goal for this season is to run a 5 minute mile. My ultimate goal for my high school career is to make it to State, and hopefully do well there.
What is your favorite event to compete in?
The mile because it’s a sprint and long distance race at the same time. It’s one of the hardest races because you have to know when to speed it up or slow it down so that you don’t burn out too fast.
What do you think your biggest strength is?
My biggest strength is my speed. I have pretty good speed endurance, so I can sprint for long periods of time without getting tired. Speed is really important if you want to come out and finish strong, and can make a big difference in your race.
How do you motivate yourself to keep going during a long race?
I follow the person in front of me, and whenever I get tired I just think of how I want to do well in the race and that always helps motivate me.
How has track influenced you as a person?
I’m more happy when I run. It has also taught me how to be part of a team and mental strength.
What is the most difficult thing about track?
It’s mainly an individual sport so you have to rely on yourself a lot, which can sometimes be a lot of pressure.
Who is someone that inspires you?
Coach Yetzer really inspires me because she’s a great coach and runner. She gives us lots of techniques and workouts that are really helpful, and she’s broken loads of state records for the mile and two mile. I would really like to mirror her running career.
Do you have any athletic quotes or sayings that motivate you?
There’s a quote that’s in Coach Yetzer’s room that says, “Don’t let the fear of losing keep you from playing the game.” If you’re too afraid to try something, there’s no way you can succeed. Running is 90 percent mental and 10percent physical, so if you’re on edge or nervous it can really impact your performance.
What is your favorite part about being on the team?
My favorite part is the people on the team. I really like having the opportunity to meet people from different grades, and spending time with my friends after school.
What is your most memorable race?
It has to be last year’s cross country conference meet. I started off running strong, but within the first hundred meters a girl stepped on the heel of my shoe. At first I didn’t notice, but I was running oddly and when I looked down my shoe was almost completely off. The coaches wanted me to stop running to put my shoe back on, but I knew that if I did I would lose my place so I kicked off my shoe to the coaches. I had to run on the soft parts of the trail which was hard, but I was lucky because the trail wasn’t very rocky. Funny enough, I set a personal record that race. I still have a bruise on my foot from that race, and I don’t think that it will ever fully heal.