Last weekend, Rose Whitt made school history as she won the Zaxby’s Invitational hosted by Southside High School. She became the first athlete in school history to win a cross country invitational. Her winning time of 21:19 was also good enough to set a new meet record. We caught up with her to gather her impression of her historic victory.
- How did you prepare for the race at Southside? I ran as many hills as I could, knowing that Southside would be hilly,
- What did you think about the course? As I mentioned before it was extremely hilly, but it was an overall great course. I did get lost at one point in the race, but I had a large enough lead and recovered quickly.
- What was your strategy during the race? I decided to take the first mile easy and feel out the competition. I rode the shoulder of a girl for the first ¾ mile, but she began to slow down so I made my move and stayed in the lead for the remainder of the race, progressively picking up my pace more and more and hammering the hilly middle mile.
- When in the race did you think you had a chance to win the race? Honestly, I never thought I could pull out a win. I just kept waiting for someone to catch me. I realized that I was really leading around the mile and a half.
- What went through your mind as you crossed the finish line in first place? I tried not to look back the whole race but finally gave in a little after the two mile mark, glancing back occasionally to check my lead. As soon as I saw the finish line I could not stop smiling. I was so excited to pull out my first cross country win and to make my family and teammates proud that I couldn’t wipe the excited and exhausted smile off my face. Also I later learned that I set the meet record, making me even more excited.
- How does it feel to be the first XC runner in school history to win a weekend invitational? I honestly did not know that until this question was asked. It is an honor to be the first runner at Emerald to win an invitational. While I follow the footsteps of past great runners, I hope to be leading a successful path for the young runners to come.
- How did your time compare to your PR? My PR is 20:46 and I ran 21:19 at the Zaxby’s Invitational. This course was tough and I ran completely alone, which affects my time. Considering I ran the first mile relatively easy, I am very optimistic about this Saturday. Lakelands invitational has great competition and I know it very well, so I am hoping to pull out a PR in the low 20s or high 19s.
- What are your goals for the remainder of the season? I would like to get in the middle 19s this cross country season and perform well in a few out of season meets such as Foot Locker Regionals, The Junior Olympics, and a couple of road races post-season.