Northwest Catholic's Sarah Gillespie: Hard Work Equals Record



CLASS: Junior

SPECIALTIES: Middle distance, distance

COACH: Patrick Williamson

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Finished the indoor season with state records in the 800 and 1,000 meters.  … Ran 2:11.16 and got seventh place in the 800 championship race at the national indoor championships. ... She beat the previous best by a Connecticut runner at the national meet [Keri Lyons of Wilton in 2006] by three seconds. … Broke Meghan Owen of Killingly's nine-year-old state record in the 1,000 meters at the State Open with a time of 2:53.01, winning the race by two seconds. Owen's record was 2:53.19. … Went on to break her own record and the previous New England record at the New England Championships when she took second with a time of 2:51.31. Maddy Berkson of Classical (R.I.) won the race with a time of 2:50.11. … Won the 1,000 meters and the 1,600 meters at the Class S championships, setting the record in the 1,600 meters with a time of 4:58:32. … Won the 1,000 and 1,600 at the CCC championships.

GILLESPIE SAID: “I wasn't really sure what I was going to be capable of this year. I knew it was going to take a lot of hard work if I was ever going to touch [any records]. So it was just an amazing season. Looking back on it, I don't know where it came from, but I'm really happy that it came. … I've been running since I was a little kid. I would get home from school and I would have too much energy so I would just run laps around my house. Running is just fun. The runner's high, the adrenaline, and just pushing yourself to your limit every day and testing yourself. … There's something good about every race. Sometimes its harder to find then others. But if you keep looking for it you'll stay in love with the sport.”

WILLIAMSON SAID: “She puts in so much work and her results on the track are directly linked to that. I think it means a ton to her to have those records. But the thing she is always the happiest about is when she can use her ability in a relay to help her teammates. … I learned this season that she really is fearless in competition. She has always been a great competitor and really tough. But she can prepare herself for anything and have no fear about it. … She is a once-in-a-generation talent. She will be the best girls runner I'll ever be lucky enough to coach and I'm planning to coach for awhile.”

UP NEXT: Will focus on running the mile during the outdoor season and already has some times she hopes to break in the 800 meters. Also plans on running with 4x800 relay team. Has high hopes for team's chances in Class M this season. “We have the strongest team we will have. We have some great seniors, some sophomores, freshmen and a really strong core of juniors too. This is our year if we're going to do something.”

IN 10 YEARS: “In Wyoming running ultra marathons. They look fun. I love running, and more running has to be better. … I would also like to be out of med school. I want to be a doctor.”

MISCELLANEOUS: Doesn't run during cross country season but plays for the volleyball team. … Ran in the Hartford Marathon Relay last fall and hopes to run marathons and ultra marathons later in life. … Trains with members of the boys track team. … Younger sister Amy is a manager for track team. … Part of campus ministry, French Honor society and National Honor society. … Loves strawberries, smoothies and needs to eat salmon the night before big races. … Needs to have her gold nail polish on for races.


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