Junior talent

By Lizzy Thomas

It’s a Thursday afternoon and Elle Wilson ’13 is easily beating half the boys on the track team in their set of 20 200-meter runs.

Come Monday, she’ll probably do the same thing during the team’s sprint workout, never relaxing her near-perfect form.

Wilson wasn’t one of those people naturally drawn towards running.

“I dreaded running in elementary school,” Wilson said.

Wilson has come a long way since then. She runs every day for a weekly total of 40 to 50 miles, and comes to school at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an additional practice that focuses on core.

Though Wilson has run as a Wolverine since seventh grade, it wasn’t until her freshman year that she viewed her sport as anything other than recreational. “I mostly did it for fun until ninth grade, and that was when I got serious,” Wilson said.

Freshman year also marked Wilson’s transition from sprints to distance running. Wilson, who ran almost exclusively 400-meter stet in middle school, was picked out by Head Distance Coach Tim Sharpe as a long-distance runner upon her arrival to the high school team.

“What it really came down to was watching her develop,” Sharpe said. “I saw that her particular range of fast and slow twitch muscle fibers is that of a distance runner.”

In the two years since, Wilson, who now runs in the 800-meter and 1600-meter races in track in addition to the three-mile race, has come a long way.

She shaved a whole minute off her three-mile cross country time this past fall down to 19:32 at the Woodbridge Invitational, a personal best. ESPN awarded her the Golden Anchor Award, an award administered to the fastest fifth place runner from any team, after the varsity girls cross country team’s victory at the Mission League Finals.

After the team’s third place finish at the State Championships, Sharpe and Head Track Coach Jonas Koolsbergen chose Wilson for the Coach’s Choice award.

“Elle does everything in her power to get better,” Sharpe said.

Sharpe’s nickname for Wilson is “puma,” because of her almost feline running form.

“There’s no magic formula — it’s just putting in the work,” said Wilson.

Wilson’s dedication has gotten her through the myriad injuries she’s suffered as a result of her sport.

“Shin splints, horrible blisters, Achilles tendon, knees — everything you can have, I’ve had it,” Wilson said.

Wilson’s training was interrupted again this January when she left the country for 12 days to debate in South Africa.

“It kind of happened that it was a happy accident that I got sick right before it,” she said. “My shins were really bad when I was there so I couldn’t really run anyway,”

Most recently, Wilson tied her personal best in the 4×400-meter with a 64 second leg at the Tri-County Invitational March 10 straight off a morning SAT. She looks forward to bettering her 2:28 personal best in the 800.

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