Salute to Seniors 6: E. Gilbert, M. Reed, & More!

Q: What was your most memorable race/moment? 

    A: Getting to share the podium with my teammates twice has been amazing. It's something you don't get to do everyday so I'll always cherish those moments.  

    Q: Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

    A: I love competing with distance runners! Everyone is so friendly and caring. There are so many girls I've gotten close with over the years. Some of the girls are Melissa Menghini and Tori Findley (go Mizzou!), Anna West, Sarah Nicholson, and Maddi Leigh. There are so many other girls I would like to list but I don't want to get too crazy. 

    Q: What was your greatest accomplishment?

    A: When people ask me this, they are usually surprised when I say it was qualifying for the 2017 State Championship. I got really sick the Wednesday before sectionals (I was up all night, lost ten pounds and I won't share in all the wonderful details). I was so weak and felt like death the day of sectionals. However, my teammates mentally and literally lifted me up. I didn't place first in any of those races but I did qualify in every single one. That day showed me how much grit I had because Coach Olszowka gave me all the opportunity to drop a race but I knew I would regret it if I did. 

    Q: If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?

    A: I don't like to think of changing things because I am so thankful for everything that happened in high school. However, I do wish that I wouldn't have started taking acne medication that caused my ferritin (iron) levels to drop in the 2017 cross country season. 

    Q: What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

    A: There has definitely been injuries, sicknesses, low iron but so many people go through those things and it just makes you stronger. 

    Q: What will you miss the most?

    A: Without a doubt it will be my teammates. I don't even know how to put in words what they mean to me. After the state track meet this year, we all went down to the track for about 2 hours to cry and talk about everything that's happened to us. Most of us are seniors so it was very bittersweet. 

    Q: What advice would you give to younger athletes?

    A: Put heart into everything you do. For every single workout and race, make sure you know why you are doing it and work your hardest at whatever that reason is. 

    Q: What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?

    A: Without all my coaches I don't know where I would be. Coach Olszowka is the brains behind the whole operation. He is always checking up on us and is making sure we have everything we need. Coach Ogle is always there with a smile and a good story on his bike to distract you from the summer heat on the Katy Trail. Coach Ohm's witty jokes and stories always keep us laughing on our smell the flowers runs. Coach Ellis is always cheering us on and pushing us to do better. Coach Rinne drives the family van to meets and back and always has a good story. Coach Opher has the best laugh and is always rooting for us.

    Q: What are your college plans?

    A: I am running cross county and track and field for the University of Missouri where I will be studying secondary biology education and special education! MIZ! 

      Q: Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?

      A: How can you narrow that down to one person or even a small group of people? There are so many people whole have helped me turn in to the person I am today from teammates to coaches to parents and even you. You are supporting me by reading this article!

      Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

      A: Running has given me more opportunities then I ever dreamed possible. I have met so many amazing people and have gotten to race in so many great places. I can't thank running enough for all the friendships I've made throughout these past 4 years. 

      Q: What was the funniest thing that happened during your running career?

      A: When we practiced at the Chili Pepper Festival course the night before the race, Coach Olszowka decided to run with us. Within 100 meters, he told us all to stop as he caught his breath and gave us  tips. He ended up running a lot more than we thought he would so that night, we slipped a little piece of paper under his door that read "What's your PR?" He thought it was another team that saw him running that day.