Cross country and track runner Sarah Ray has had an excellent season thus far. Since early September the Olivet junior has been named Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) player of the week three times.
On Sept. 11, she finished first in the Midwest Classic 5k with a time of 18:34. The next weekend, Sept. 19, she took first place again in Wheaton Gil Dodds’ Invitational 8k with a time of 22:11. Most recently, in the Fighting Bee Invite on Oct. 12, she placed first in the 5k with a time of 18:24.
“Sarah’s recent success is a direct result of her learning how to put together a more solid race,” said Head Cross Country Coach Mike McDowell. “She’s learning how to work through the pain that accompanies competing.”
Ray’s journey to where she is today is one littered with injuries. After being recognized as an All-American her freshman year, she suffered a stress fracture in her foot. Coupling that with a couple of hip injuries during her sophomore season, and she was unable to replicate that same level of success she had during her freshman year. She has been proactive to keep herself healthy this season.
“I just didn’t listen to myself, so I ended up getting hurt. But I have been buying into the plan, taking breaks when I need it and pushing myself when I can. I used to think it was bad to take days off, but now I am making sure to take them off,” said Ray.
Her coaches and teammates have felt Ray’s hard work and strong effort as well.
“It’s greater for athletes, especially younger athletes to see the type of work ethic that it takes to be consistently takes to be at the top of your game,” says McDowell.
Senior, runner Brandon Divan spoke highly of Ray as well, “Sarah Ray is one of the most driven members of the team and the results show. She is always diligent in her training.”
Ray’s fellow runner, Elizabeth Soper said, “As a teammate Sarah displays how to properly take care of yourself throughout the season in order to be able to do our very best.”
Looking forward into the season, the National Championships are on Nov. 20, and Ray is hoping to have a top 10 finish this year and get back to her All-American status.
—Sam Nichols, staff writer