Athlete of the week is a new, online-only feature about one athlete who the Sports staff believes deserves recognition.  The feature will run, as you may have already guessed, every week.

This week’s choice is senior cross country runner Annette White, the leading runner, along with freshman Brooke Wolfe, on the state-bound cross country team.  The team has been ranked in the top 10 all season, and has a chance to win Prospect’s first girls’ state championship ever this Saturday at the state meet.

How long have you been running?

“I [ran] track in seventh and eighth grade, but I couldn’t do cross country because I played basketball [at South Middle School].  So I just started cross country freshman year.”

What motivates you to run?

“Our team.  If it weren’t for the girls on the team, I honestly don’t know if I would have stuck with cross-country freshman year because everyone is really close and we’re all good friends.  Whenever I’m in a race and I’m feeling bad, I just think about my teammates and how we rely on each other.”

Has running always been fun for you?

“I kind of dreaded it in middle school, I mean, I really didn’t like it.  But as the years have gone on, I’ve definitely come to appreciate it more.  It keeps me focused and determined on things.”

Has running always been easy for you?

“I work hard at it.  I obviously had talent coming in and I didn’t even know about it; but I think that with the hard work over the years, I’ve become a stronger runner, physically and mentally.”

What was your main goal this season?

“Our goal coming into the season, ever since track ended last year and over the summer is to come home with a state trophy or to win state.  We all knew with the girls coming in we could do it, so our focus for the whole season is coming down to this one weekend.  Personally, I want to get all-state, hopefully in the top ten.”

Do you have any role models?
“When I was [a freshman and a sophomore], I definitely looked up to the older girls a lot because they always knew what to do when I was lost.”

What sports do you like to watch?

“I really like football games.  They’re really the only sport I’ll watch on T.V., or basketball I guess.  But I don’t like baseball—it gets really boring.  The Bears are my favorite football team, and the Bulls are my favorite basketball team.”

Do you have any other hobbies or activities outside of cross-country?

“Well, in school I’m in Knights’ Way, LINK and LEAP.  And I run track in the spring.”

Do you ever get sick of running?

“Um, there’s definitely times when I ask myself why I do it, but it all pays off in the end.  I love the sport.”

Do people ever ask you, “Wow, how can you stand running so much?” How do you respond to that?

“Yeah, every time we talk about how long our run is, like a 10-mile run, people just stare at us like we’re crazy.  I just say, ‘It’s really not that bad.  If you were in our position, you wouldn’t think it was that bad either.”

– Interview compiled and edited by Riley Simpson