For The Tribune
A lot of high school athletes who run both cross-country and track say they prefer cross-country because of the variety of courses they run on, and that includes Sara Martin of Brownstown Central.
“I like cross-country more just because of the scenery,” she said. “I like that cross- country is a sport that keeps you accountable. You can’t blame a bad performance on anything other than yourself. You can say the weather was bad or something, but that is just something you have to get over. It’s all on you.”
Last fall, Martin ran in either the No. 6 or No. 7 position for the Braves during cross-country meets.
She said she wants to move closer to the front and drop her times this fall.
“I want to get close to 24 minutes,” Martin said. “I just want to keep dropping time. We have really good freshmen this year and they are all just great, so I’m hoping I can hang in there with the new ones, because they’re all so good, and keep scoring points for my team.
“At the same time I want to encourage them because once I’m gone they’re the ones that will take over next year.”
Running distance events has forced Martin to learn how to better pace herself.
“My goal is to make sure my first mile is under eight, and that gives me a little bit of wiggle room for the other two as I get tired,” Martin said. “I want the second mile to be around 8:30 or so.”
Martin ran cross-country for three years at Brownstown Central Middle School.
She played softball her freshman year at Brownstown Central High School, then decided to run in the fall and spring of her sophomore year, and has been participating in both sports ever since.
The girls and boys cross-country teams are a close-knit bunch.
“The boys team and girls team always get to do stuff together,” Martin said. “We have Frisbee tournaments together and get to hang out a lot.”
Martin said she looks forward to track in the spring where she plans to run the mile and two-mile, and the 800 in some meets.
“My favorite event is probably the mile,” Martin said. “The two mile it seems like you’re running forever, and it’s so many laps, and then the mile is not so short that you have to sprint it all, it’s just nice, not too long, the perfect length. I’ve been running miles forever (so) that I’m used to it.”
Martin prefers to run individual events in track instead of relays, because if she has a bad race she feels like she is letting her teammates down.
The senior said she believes that any successful athlete needs a strong mental outlook.
“In cross-country, especially, when you hit the two-mile mark, and you still have another mile to run (so) you just have to think yourself through it and think positive,” Martin said. “We’ve had practices where we’ve ran eight miles. You can run five miles, and after that it is completely mental. Your body kind of gets in the groove of things and it doesn’t take as much effort.
“You just have to tell yourself that you can do it, and that you are going to do well.”
Parents: Roger and Barbara Martin
Siblings: Eric, Ian
Sports: Cross-country, three years; track and field, three years; softball, one year
Athletic highlights: 2014 most improved cross-country runner
Plans after high school: Attend Johnson University, Knoxville, Tennessee, and study missions and community health evangelism
Favorite food: Ice cream
Favorite TV show: “Criminal Minds”
Favorite movie: “Harry Potter”
Favorite team: Cincinnati Reds
Q: Why are you involved in both cross-country and track?
A: “When I started cross country my sophomore year there is no way I wanted to do track, but I enjoyed being around the girls, they are such a great team, and (Maria) Weigel is such a good coach. I just have so many close friends on this team that I felt like I would be leaving a family if I didn’t do the rest of the sports with them. We hang out in the off-season. I have such close relations that I haven’t experienced in any other sports.”
Q:What are home track meets like?
A: “I like them. We always have a good turnout of fans. They’ve got your back and they’re supporting you.”
Q: What’s it like attending Brownstown Central?
A: “I like it. It feels all the teachers care, specifically about your education. They all care about you, and you have more of a personal relationship. The school is so small, and they remember when they had your uncle or your parents in school.”