Note: The following appears in the March issue of Orange: The Experience. For full access to all of the publication's content, join IPTAY today by calling 864-656-2115.
Q. Where are you from?
A. I’m from Spartanburg, South Carolina, where I attended Spartanburg High School.
Q. Do you have any siblings?
A. I have a younger sister, Maron, who is a sophomore at Emory.
Q. What are your parents’ occupations?
A. My mom is an elementary school teacher and my dad works in industrial construction.
Q. What is your major?
A. I major in health science.
Q. How did you get involved with competitive running?
A. I’ve played sports practically my whole life. I played soccer and basketball. I did triathlons. Anything I did, I always loved the running part of it. I would run, when I was younger, just for fun around my neighborhood. Then in seventh grade, the Spartanburg High School cross country coach came out and talked to students at my school about running, and I knew then that I wanted to try out for the team. So that summer, I started and I loved it and haven’t looked back since.
Q. How has competitive running influenced your life?
A. This is my 10th year of running competitively, and it’s been something that’s dominated every aspect of my life. Every decision I make is made based on whether or not it’s going to make me faster or a better runner. So it’s definitely not just a sport, it’s a lifestyle, which any runner would tell you. It’s been a test of character and a great experience that has taught me life lessons along the way.
Q. Why did you choose to attend Clemson?
A. Where I’m from isn’t far from here, and I grew up going to Clemson football and basketball games. Once the recruiting process came around, I loved the team and the atmosphere here. It’s always been my dream to go to a big school in a Power Five conference, so that was also part of it. It was a dream come true for me to attend Clemson.
Q. What do you enjoy most about being a Clemson athlete?
A. How well everyone associated with the track & field program treats the athletes here. They all bend over backward to make sure we’re ready to compete. Our academic services are incredible at helping us get tutors and stay on top of our academics. The training staff here is incredible, as well. There are so many resources here.
Q. What has been your favorite memory as a Clemson student?
A. The 2016 ACC Cross Country Championships were awesome. We had our highest finish in several years, and my best friend, Grace Barnett, finished third, which was huge. Everyone stepped up that day, and I think it was a step in the right direction for our program.
Q. You made national headlines this past fall by assisting a runner across the finish line at the ACC Championships. What led to that?
A. I remember coming up to the top of the hill, seeing the finish line and noticing her struggling. The next thing I knew, I was trying to get her up and moving.
Q. Who has been the biggest inspiration in your running career?
A. My biggest running inspiration is Santresa Jamison, a teammate I had when I was in the seventh grade and she was a senior in high school. Santresa took me under her wing and taught me so much about running. With me being a young 12-year-old, had she not been there, I very much could have been swept up in running slow at practice every day, but she pushed me and taught me what it means to be a leader.
Q. What are your hobbies?
A. I love hiking, camping, rock climbing and playing sports. I’ve also gotten really into cooking, and I enjoy watching movies.
Q. What are your post-graduation aspirations?
A. I’m hoping to go to physical therapy school. I shadowed a physical therapist in high school and loved it. I’ve done some physical therapy internships. I love to help people by inspiring and motivating.
Q. How do you envision your life 10 years from now?
A. I would like to be living in the mountains, perhaps out west in Colorado, and I see myself still running and competing in marathons for fun.