Senior Rachel Umpleby has been a member of the cross country team since elementary school. Running four years of junior high cross country and four years in high school, Umpleby loved it from the start.
“I joined cross country in fifth grade because I wasn’t good at any other sports, so I decided to give cross country a chance. I loved it, so I continued running every year,” said Umpleby.
Not only does Umpleby love cross country, she is also very skilled at it.
“My freshman year, I won Most Valuable Runner and the Rookie Award, and I qualified for Regional. I won Most Improved Runner my sophomore and junior years. My best time during a meet is 21:43, but my best 5k time is 21:19. To attain those times, I worked hard in the off-season and every day in practice. I also had an excellent diet and overall took care of my body,” said Umpleby.
Aside from all seriousness of running cross country, Umpleby still manages to have fun with her team.
“My favorite memories from cross country come from freshman year. We were a small team, but we were a family. I also have always liked the laid back atmosphere of cross country. You don’t have to be a good runner to feel like you’re part of the team,” said Umpleby.
Umpleby also loves her team traditions.
“We eat popsicles after every practice, which is especially nice after a hard practice or if it’s really hot. We also eat pizza and watch funny YouTube videos at our end-of-year banquet,” said Umpleby.
Although Umpleby has enjoyed her past eight years of cross country, she does not plan on continuing running when she goes to college.
“I don’t think I will have enough time for it because I plan to dedicate a large portion of my time to school and studying,” said Umpleby.
Umpleby intends to attend Purdue University with a major in chemical engineering following graduation.
Story by Gracie Walls