Ailsa Gilbert Tells Some Of Her Story

Ailsa Gilbert, Class of 2019 - Watertown-Mayer High School

What are all your personal records?  What State Meet competitions have you been in, and what were your results?

I have participated in the State Track and Field Meet for four years competing in either the triple jump, long jump, the 100 meter hurdles, or a combination of the three. In past years, I had been very fortunate to make it on the podium multiple times. Last year, I was able to achieve first place in the triple jump, second place in the 100 meter hurdles, and third place in the long jump. My personal record in the triple jump is 37'5 ½, in the 100 meter hurdles it is 15.14, and my record in the long jump is 17'9 ½. 

How did you first get involved with track? Do you do, or have you done, any other sports?

Originally, I was very involved with the gymnastics program at my school. When I first was on the gymnastics team in 7th grade some of my teammates spoke very highly of our track and field program. This sparked my interest because I was looking for an activity to participate in during the spring. When I joined our track and field team, I felt at home hurdling and jumping because it reminded of similar moves in gymnastics.  

What is your favorite or most memorable competition you've ever been in?

My favorite competition is the Hamline Elite Meet. I enjoy this meet because only the top athletes from both classes (A and AA) compete. It is fun for me to compete against the "big" schools in Minnesota.

What was it like to win the State Championship in the triple jump last year? Was it something that you expected, or did it come as a surprise?

Winning the State Championship in the triple jump was an amazing experience. I had been working so hard in both of my sports, and had come so close in the past - state runner up the year before in triple jump and runner-up in beam at the state gymnastics meet last year. Coming away with the title was super surprising! There were so many other great athletes competing in the State Track Meet and the weather was quite unpredictable that day! 

Who are some of your favorite athletes to compete against?

I love competing at the State Meet because you get to meet so many new faces as well as see friends that I have competed against for many years. I especially love jumping/hurdling against the girls in my section because the level of competition is so high. Sara Byers from Rockford and Maggie Larson from Maple Lake are two other great jumpers from my section.  For years, my former teammate Tyarra English-Paulson at Watertown-Mayer also pushed me in hurdles - she now competes in college. 

Who are some people that have been most helpful to you in your athletic career, and how have they helped you?

My track and field coaches have helped a great deal throughout out my track and field career at Watertown. Coach Rich Winter has been the most helpful providing coaching, advice, and humor at every meet and practice. My parents have also been supportive - my dad spends hours working with me at the track and my mom is my loudest cheerleader in the stands at meets.

Who might we find cheering for you at competitions?  

At a track and field meet, you would expect to find my parents, grandparents, siblings and some of my friends cheering me on. Their support is phenomenal, and they are always there to cheer me on no matter what I am participating in. 

How have you worked to overcome challenges you've faced?

Make sure that you take care of your body - I have had to endure a few injuries over the years!

What are your main goals for this track season?

This track season I want to focus on having fun, but at the same I want to achieve a couple of new personal records on the track! Hopefully, I will be able to make it back to the State Track and Field Meet and defend my title in the triple jump. 

What are you and your teammates looking forward to the most this year?

My teammates and I are looking forward to the being back on the track having fun! Hopefully, the snow will melt before April so we can have a full schedule of track meets this year. 

Do you have any post-graduation/college plans?

Yes, I will be continuing my track and field career as I have committed to the University of Montana. I am also planning on following in my parent footsteps, by pursuing the field of education. I am super excited for new challenges at a higher level! Go Griz! 

When not doing anything track-related, what might we find you doing?

When I am not on the track you will find my hanging out with friends/family or working out/coaching in the gymnastics gym!

What advice would you give to younger athletes, or athletes just starting out in track?

I would tell a young athlete or an athlete just starting out in track to try a variety of events and have fun because the track season flies by!

Tell me one bizarre fact about yourself.

One bizarre fact about me is that I have lived in South Korea for two years. I was also able to travel around Asia when I was there ! I visited China, Vietnam, Thailand, and the Philippines.