Article by Kathryn Steel, Reporter
Photo courtesy aqsaints.com
Our reporter Kat Steel sat down with AQ runner Whitney Taylor to discuss her time as a student athlete.
Why track and field, and cross country?
I’ve always loved running. I grew up going on 3 mile runs with my mom who was also a collegiate runner. I looked up to her a lot, anything she did, I wanted to do too.
Who inspires you to run?
My parents. They have always been so supportive and help keep my love for the sport alive. Making them proud is easy when they couldn’t care less how fast I run, just that I’m trying my best and having fun.
-What is something that you valued while being on a collegiate team?
I value so many things! It’s been such a blessing and I am so thankful for the opportunity and health to do so. But the friendships I’ve made are definitely what I will cherish most when I look back on this experience.
What will you miss when you graduate?
I will really miss training and competing with my team. I love racing solo but really love a good relay. Especially when I am feeling good and the stakes are high, like at conference or nationals–nothing compares to that feeling when you finish your leg of the race only to sprint across the field to cheer on the next leg. You don’t even notice the fatigue past your excitement.
My favorite memory is oddly not one of the amazing national trips nor conference races. My favorite memory is doing one of our hardest workouts, we call it Egypt Valley. It’s six miles at tempo pace on grueling hills – a mid-distance runner’s worst nightmare. But this workout in particular, all of us were feeling really good. We were packed up, communicating the whole time and helping each other if someone started to fall off the pack. We ended up breaking the team record for times run on this workout. We were all so excited, the energy was so high! We had worked so well as a team to overcome such a tough feat.
“Attitude and effort.” Coach Woj [Mike Wojciakowski, Women’s Cross Country head coach] always reminded us that these are the only two things we ever have control over.