Sometimes the most difficult thing to overcome is fear.
Fear of failure, fear of rejection and fear of the unknown are enough to keep people from pursuing something new.
For Keller Timber Creek cross country runner Rylee Cristan, competing was that scary. At first.
“I used to be scared of every opportunity and psych myself out,” Cristan said. “I would be so nervous and think I couldn’t do anything. However, I just had to trust in God, break through the lies and really try to be fearless on and off the course. Going through that really made me a stronger person.”
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Through sheer grit and determination, Cristan has emerged as one of Timber Creek’s top distance runners this season, and her coach, Dan Strong, has taken notice.
Being on the team made running go from a hobby to a passion.
“Rylee’s gradual yet constant improvement has been the most impressive aspect of her career,” Strong said. “It can be very difficult to continually improve throughout the seasons. Rylee isn’t one of those kids who improved by having several moments of radical improvement. She has improved incrementally every week that she has been in high school.”
Cristan owns the fastest time in the 5K this season for the Lady Falcons, running 18:42.06 at the Keller High School Invitational on Sept. 23, and she said that she feels she has really turned a corner this year in terms of her attitude towards the sport.
“This season has been a lot of fun,” Cristan said. “I had a huge breakthrough in my mentality. Instead of thinking negatively before I raced, I started believing in myself and being optimistic.
“I think I’ve had a pretty good season so far. I PR’d by 40 seconds since last year, and I’ve improved my times on every course compared to the races my junior year.”
Cristan said that her goal this season is to avance to state and break the school’s 5K record time.
The Timber Creek senior credits the TCHS cross country program for fostering her love of the sport, saying it was there that she first felt she could truly hone her craft.
“My passion for distance running began the moment I joined Timber Creek cross country,” Cristan said. “The atmosphere of the team is so fun and supportive, and we are basically a big family. Coach Strong is also an amazing coach and really cares about everyone and supports us.
“Being on the team made running go from a hobby to a passion. I absolutely love running, and the feeling of accomplishment after a hard workout with your teammates is the best.”
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