Maddy Castleberry knows a lot of her work competing for the Trophy Club Nelson cross country team is in her mental approach.
“We all need to have a good attitude towards running and our sport in general,” the junior move-in said. “Our mindset is everything in cross country. It can make or break a runner, because if you listen to all the voices in your head that tell you ‘stop,’ ‘slow down’ or ‘I’m tired,’ then you won’t ever get a chance to improve. As Coach (Jason) Spoor always says, ‘attitude is our magic.’”
Castleberry just transferred to Nelson this school year, and the distance runner is already making her presence felt.
Castleberry finished sixth at the Cowtown Challenge in Fort Worth on Aug. 20 with a time of 21:08.77 to help lead the Lady Bobcats cross country team to a second-place finish.
Spoor said that he has been very impressed with Castleberry’s contributions to the team and actually admired her abilities before she even got to Nelson.
“She is a very hard worker,” Spoor said. “I checked her out before she got here, and I was very impressed by how much she improved. She made some big jumps in the 2-mile and got much, much faster in the 5K. Her work ethic is amazing. There are times I actually have to pull her back. She has been a great addition to our team.”
Castleberry, 16, transferred in from Brandeis High School in San Antonio this season and said last year was her first to compete at the varsity level.
In order to have a strong season in 2016, the Nelson junior said that she and her teammates have got to be prepared mentally and emotionally more than anything else.
“I was eager to compete on a new level and had an amazingly encouraging team to help pull everybody through,” Castleberry said. “After almost every race, I still felt like I had more left in me, which left me excited for racing each week. To my new team, I try to bring a very positive and motivating attitude. Every day I come into practice ready to put in the hard work and want to inspire others to do the same.”
Castleberry said she worked hard this offseason preparing, traveling long and far to improve for the cross country season.
“My summer consisted of a lot of distance and running on my own,” Castleberry said. “From the transition from San Antonio to Roanoke, I never had a team to run with until August when I started attending the Byron Nelson practices. I also got to spend a week at a running camp in Colorado to work in higher altitudes.”