Elaine McVay running to excellence

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by Sydnie Parker, staff writer

Not many people can run two miles in 10 minutes, or even want to, but senior cross country captain Elaine McVay has accomplished this feat.

Practicing six days a week has made Elaine the Grizzlies’ top runner, so it isn’t surprising she is the newest star and leader of the cross country team.

“You don’t have to tell Elaine to push harder, you have to tell her to take it easy,” coach Dina Anderson said. “Some competitors go mental, have a bad day, but not Elaine.”

“She could be sick and puking, but no matter what she brings it on race day.”

Last season, Elaine placed third for the 5K NCS race with a time of 18:23, the third best time in NCS history. This qualified her for the CIF State Championships, where she placed 22nd out of 194 runners with a time of 18:25.

This year, Elaine has stepped up her pace and had little trouble taking over for former cross country and track leader Colleen Lillig, who won NCS the past three years and earned a scholarship to UC Irvine.

“Elaine is definitely at the same level as Colleen,” Anderson said. “They were always neck and neck.”

Elaine also competed at the NCS championships for track last year, placing second in the 2-mile race at 10:43.

This year she hopes to win both NCS titles and improve her time at the state competitions.

Elaine’s dedication to running motivates her teammates to do better.

“She is very inspiring,” said senior cross country runner Carissa Heller. “She never complains or whines about running, and is always motivated.”

At the first cross country meet of the season, the Monte Vista Invitational on Sept. 6, Elaine placed second, only 20 seconds behind the winner.

Although Elaine does make running seem pretty easy, she has definitely had to overcome her fair share of obstacles, including a hamstring injury her freshman year.

“It is something you have to work through, I am a better runner now then before the injury,” Elaine said. “Running helps you push yourself, even when you think you have reached your limit it makes you push even harder.”

Elaine could not have achieved this amount of success without putting in a lot hard work to get there.

She began running in middle school through intermural sports, and her passion for running has grown ever since.  Besides running three to five miles at practice five days a week, she runs seven miles in less than 50 minutes on weekends.

Anderson noticed her commitment immediately and saw Elaine’s huge potential.

“Elaine has always been a varsity runner, but she has jumped to a world class athlete,” Anderson said. “Every college is going to want her.”

Besides being an incredible athlete, Elaine is a very devoted student and is taking almost all AP classes.  She even managed to maintain a 5.0 GPA last year, and  is starting a new environmental biology club this year.

With this combination of brains and athletic skills, no wonder schools like Harvard and M.I.T. want Elaine.

“I want to run in college, but that’s it,” said Elaine.