Distance runners come and distance runners go, but the Carroll cross country program never seems to disappoint when the pressure is on.
The Lady Dragons cross country program won a district championship and finished third at the regional meet, and incoming senior Gillian Mortimer was an important part of the reason why.
“Gillian is a positive influence and a great leader for our team,” coach Justin Leonard said. “Gillian has big meet experience and has developed into a top runner. Gillian puts the team first and her goal is to help lead our team to great success this season.”
Mortimer finished tied for second at district last season and had the third fastest time on the Carroll team behind graduating seniors Allison Esparza and Kayli Jones.
The Carroll distance runner said that while she is pleased with what her team accomplished this past season, she wants more in 2016.
“Last cross country season, we had a great season and all the girls on the team improved which was awesome,” Mortimer said. “Unfortunately, we fell short of our goal to win the state championship, but we are using that to fuel our fire to work harder and come back even stronger this season and get that goal.”
Mortimer runs cross country and track and Carroll, but is also heavily involved in such extracurriculars as Spanish Club, the Paws and Claws (supporting shelter animals) Club, Key Club and National Honor Society.
Mortimer, 17, said her off-season regimen is going to be intense.
“This summer, myself along with the team are working on bonding and getting in tough, quality workouts to prepare for the season,” Mortimer said. “To get our goal of winning a state championship, we have to push ourselves everyday and train harder than we have in the past, while also having fun and bonding with others.”
To have another successful campaign in 2016, Mortimer said it will take a couple of things.
“The Carroll cross country team has the runners to have a really strong season,” Mortimer said. “We just need to stay motivated and really work hard towards our goal to win State. Everyday is important and with such a large team, we want every runner at every different speed to improve and work towards a strong season.”