GOING THE DISTANCE

For The Tribune

Seymour’s Mariah Lewis said you have to have a lot of physical ability as well as a positive mindset when it comes to having success in distance running.

She has been a member of both the Owls cross-country and track and field teams for four years

“I think everyone adjusts differently,” Lewis said about running cross-country. “Mental was my biggest race. Physically, I can race all I want, but the whole race is mental for me. It’s convincing myself ‘Hey, you’re going to finish.’ I really didn’t have splits. I went on how my body was feeling.

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“If I was in pain, was it ‘Are you hurting something,’ or was it pain I could get past? My body is different than a bunch of people. I have to start faster in order to keep up with the pack.”

The senior’s main events in track have been the 3,200-meter run and 3,200 relay.

The 3,200 is the first running event, and the 3,200 relay is one of the last running events of most meets.

“Oddly enough, I enjoy having the first race and almost the last race. I think I get to be there for my team more because I’m not focused, ‘OK, I need to warm up now,’” Lewis said. “I know exactly what race I need to start warming up on, and as soon as I get there I have to start warming up.”

Lewis prefers running first in the relay.

“I like to lead off because I get a feel for how fast the track is,” Lewis said. “I’m really good about warning the other girls like ‘Hey, the backstretch is really windy today. You’re going to hit a wall.’ I really like to lead off to; A, let them know; B, to get it done and over with; and C, to shock myself nerve wise.”

Lewis said she enjoys the relay and is hoping the Owls can break the school record as their fastest time has been five second off the mark.

“I love running as a team, and I think that is the main reason I love the 4×800,” Lewis said. “Your team is standing at the start line cheering you on and telling you that you need to push it here or hold back here.”

Lewis said she enjoys running because she likes to set up a strategy.

“I’m good at running races that I have to think about. If I’m thinking about pacing myself, I’m not thinking about how much pain I’m in and how much I want to stop,” Lewis said. “I love to think during my races.”

Her best 3,200 time has been 13:15, and her goal is to get under 13 minutes.

For Lewis, her running career started cross-country in middle school, and when she got to high school she realized she liked to run more than anything else so we added track to her schedule.

Last fall she battled for the No. 7 position and in the big meets at the end of the season.

“Getting a chance to run at Brown County was a great experience,” Lewis said. “The Brown County Invitational started preparing us for sectionals. We were running it to do well, but we were also running it to get a feel for sectionals.”

For Lewis, keeping track of opponents is a key to success.

“We actually kept a scoreboard in the locker room this season, which was a brand new concept for us, and I think it was great,” Lewis said. “We kept track of everyone we ran against and what were their best times. We watched our times and toward conference we went up to the scoreboard and said who is closest to my time, not my fastest time on my best day. We said ‘OK, there are four girls I can beat from this time.’ We looked at who was a couple seconds off and that is who we went after.”

One of her goals is to stay healthy the whole season as she has been slowed by stress fracture shin splints so she took all winter off.

Off the course

Parents: Tom and Michele Lewis

Siblings: Bailey, Grace

Sports: cross country 4 years, track 4 years

Organizations: Band, Choir (Acapella), Latin Club, National Honor Society, Latin Club

Favorite course: “Brown County definitely. It’s challenging. People don’t expect Brown County to be challenging because there is not that many hills, but there is one you have to charge up.”

Cross country: “Everyone says cross country is an individual sport. It’s really not. The race is individual but getting further is all your team. The invitationals felt more like an individual thing, but running sectionals and regionals you know it’s more for your team.”

Athletic honors: Track — most improved freshman year, all-conference honorable mention, winning sectional twice; CC-regional and semi-state qualifier.

Home meets: “I really like home meets and I think the student body really likes coming to home meets. Home meets are amazing for me”

Favorite away track: Columbus East.

Plans after high school: Attend Indiana University, major in music education and psychology

Attending SHS: “I enjoy how active how everyone is. I’m active a ton of activities. I feel each activity you’re in you get a family.”

Favorite food: anything chocolate

Favorite movie: “Unbroken”

Favorite athlete: Louie Zamperini

Favorite teams: Cincinnati Reds, Indiana University cross country

Favorite quote: “Work hard for what you want because if won’t come to you without a fight. You have to be strong and courageous and know what you can do anything you put your mind to.” – Leah Labelle

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Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.