Cross country runner strides by competition

Junior+Rosemary+Gillam+digs+deep+on+the+final+stretch+as+she+races+in+the+Mustang+Invitational%2C+a+two-mile+course%2C+on+Sept.+2.+Gillam+won+third+place+overall+and+was+JC%27s+top+runner+with+a+time+of+12+minutes+and+27+seconds.

Edward Benner

Junior Rosemary Gillam digs deep on the final stretch as she races in the Mustang Invitational, a two-mile course, on Sept. 2. Gillam won third place overall and was JC’s top runner with a time of 12 minutes and 27 seconds.

Junior Rosemary Gillam sees the finish line only a quarter of a mile away. So close, yet so far. An opponent slowly tries to close the gap behind her, but Gillam knows that a quick burst of speed will be enough to blow any runner away.

Can her legs do it after three fast miles? She bursts through the finish line in full stride, and a smile breaks across her face. The race is hers.

Gillam is the top runner on the women’s cross country team, but one might be surprised to discover that Gillam has only been running competitively since the start of her freshman year. “I did random races in elementary school and middle school. I didn’t really train for them, but I did pretty well, so I thought I’d try [running] more in high school,” Gillam said.

Not only does Gillam run cross country, but she also participates in indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, and figure skating for Ice World. According to Gillam, she had started running to help train for figure skating, but eventually, “Running just took over,” Gillam said.

Gillam has quickly worked her way up to the varsity team, a true testament to her dedication given that women’s varsity only consists of the top seven runners. She did not start on varsity her freshman year, but women’s cross country coach Robert Torres noted her marked improvement. “She’s one of the more solid runners on the team,” Torres said. “She’s grown into a leader.”

Over the past few years on both cross country and track and field, Gillam has proven herself to be one of the hardest workers on the team. “She’s a very improved runner on the team who practices hard,” Torres said.

Even her teammates emphasize her work ethic and her newfound leadership. “She’s always optimistic and constantly sets goals for other runners to try to achieve,” junior Anna Kotula said.

She is my top motivation.”

— Senior Adria Pirozzi

Senior Adria Pirozzi also agrees that Gillam is a positive influence to the team. “She is my top motivation. We run together so that way we can encourage each other through those days when we don’t feel well,” Pirozzi said.

Gillam has started out strong so far, breaking her own personal record at the Mustang Invitational, a two-mile course, with a time of 12 minutes and 27 seconds. She beat her season record at the Barnhart Invitational with a time of 20 minutes 42 seconds. In the team’s tri-meet against Bryn Mawr and Maryvale, Gillam came in third place behind Maryvale Preparatory School’s top two runners, and she beat the entire Bryn Mawr School team.

Gillam hopes to continue her success through the help of her competition. “I don’t like when people beat me,” Gillam said. Her top priority right now: “I just want to have a good championship race.”

Emily Stancliff is a Sports Editor for The Patriot and jcpatriot.com.