Suddenly Running - Maddie Carrington's Immediate Passion

Maddie Carrington, Class of 2020 - Morris Area High School 

What are all your personal records?  What State Meet competitions have you been in, and what were your results?
My personal record for the 800 is 2:18, for the 400 is 62 seconds, for the 1600 is 5:13, and for the 5k in XC is 19:41. When I was in 7th grade, I competed at the State Cross Country Meet and got 137th place. That year I also competed at the State Track Meet in the 4x800m relay and the 800. My relay team got 9th place, and I placed 6th in the 800. In 8th grade, my team competed at the State Cross Country Meet. We got 14th as a team and I placed 30th individually. In 9th grade, I placed 59th at the State Cross Country Meet and competed in the 1600m and 800m at State Track. I placed 7th in the 800. In 10th grade, I competed in the 1600m and 800m at State Track and got 9th place in the 1600m. Now, I am a junior, and this fall I placed 59th again at the State Cross Country Meet. 

How did you first get involved with track and XC, and what other sports have you done?
When I started 7th grade, I was signed up to do volleyball in the fall, but cross country practice started a week earlier so I thought I would work out with them until volleyball practices started. After the first day of practice, I loved the people and the running so much that I wanted to officially join cross country! And I have loved every day since! Also I have wanted to be in track since as long as I can remember, because I've always wanted to beat my aunt's record in the 400 that she has at our school (but unfortunately, this has yet to occur).

What is your favorite or most memorable competition you've ever been in?           
 This is a tricky question, but I'd probably say my race at State Cross Country when I was in 7th grade. I remember I was so terrified before my run that I was basically crying, and then I got my slowest time of the year. I remember thinking while I was running that I was probably going to get last place at the State Meet and everyone would be disappointed in me, but then I finished - not quite in last - and all my friends and family were still super proud of me and I was so happy.
Tell me a standout non-competition-related memory from your athletics career.     
When I was in 7th grade at practice one day we played soccer in the pouring rain, and that has always been one of my favorite practices. Becoming sopping wet was inevitable so we all had fun aggressively diving in puddles for the ball and slipping around.       

Who are some of your favorite athletes to compete against?         
Probably my sister Meredith, or any of my other teammates. I'm so competitive that even at practice, regardless of who's next to me, I will always do my best to beat them. This really helps to push me and get better. My sister is especially persistent with running by me at practice, so she really pushes me to never take it easy. 

Who might we find cheering for you at competitions?  
A lot of my family members come to all of my track meets, so my dad, brother, grandparents, and aunts and uncles are often there cheering. My mom is an assistant coach, so she's always there too. I also really appreciate my friends cheering me on during my races. My sister and best friend are especially amazing. They are always on the back stretch of the mile, entertaining me and making me smile by telling me how cute or amazing I look.

What is a challenge, or challenges, you have had to face as an athlete? How did you overcome them?
My biggest challenge as an athlete has been dealing with multiple stress fractures in my feet. I've had to sit out one entire track season and then parts of other cross country and track seasons due to my broken feet. This was really difficult for me not getting to run and compete at the level I wanted to, and I'd always feel so out of shape and behind everyone else once I was able to begin running again. Although I really did not enjoy these experiences, they definitely have really helped me to appreciate running and every race and practice that I am able to run and compete in. 
What are your main goals for this track season?                                                                                                  
My goals this season are to stay healthy and uninjured and to place in the 1600 and 800 at the State Meet.

What are you and your teammates looking forward to the most this year?
We're looking forward to our Saturday practices at 8 am, so we can get a hard, fulfilling workout in and then go to our teammate's house for a big breakfast of waffles and chocolate milk. 

Do you have plans to continue with Track and XC after high school? If so, what are you looking for in a potential program? 
I would love to continue track and XC after high school and definitely plan on doing this. I love how running has helped me make amazing friends, stay healthy, and gain incredible satisfaction from difficult races and practices. In a potential program. I would look for a coach who really cares about their athletes and wants what is best for them. I would also be interested in a program with a strong team that I could be an asset to while also really pushing myself and improving.

Do you have any rituals, routines, or superstitions either on or off the track?

I don't really have any superstitions, but I do have my favorite pair of "race day socks" that I need to wear for every meet. I also always wear the orange t-shirt with my sister's and my name on it that we got for qualifying for state one year on every single meet day. 

When not doing anything track-related, what might we find you doing?
READING is one of my favorite things to do when I have downtime. Also, I could be found going on a bike ride with my mom, playing piano or violin, playing basketball, or swimming. 

What advice would you give to younger athletes, or athletes just starting out in track?
I would tell them that it really does go by so fast and that you'll never regret pushing yourself and working hard. Although it may be scary to try to go faster when you're already tired, you will always be happy that you did and then feel extra satisfied once you finish. I'd also remind them to not get too overwhelmed, because you only can control how you perform and as long as you know you did your best then no one important could be disappointed with you.

Do you have any specific running advice or tips that you would like to share?
   -Do not be afraid of pain, embrace it.
   -Do ab workouts.
   -Also, in a race, start sprinting at the end before your opponent does. 

Tell me one bizarre fact about yourself.
I love drawing little cartoon elephants everywhere I can and writing cute puns on them like "Have an elephantastic day!" or "Today is going to be a TON of fun!"