A tall and slender freckled brunette with a big smile and tons of energy is breaking onto the high school cross-country scene. She’s won most of her races this fall and she’s only a freshman! Runner by fall, skier by winter, she is a fierce competitor. Who am I talking about? Craftsbury junior skier, Avery Ellis!
By far my favorite subject to research and write about for this blog is the athletic achievement of our junior Craftsbury members, and Avery’s story is particularly near and dear to me, considering our common background as cross-country runner-skiers.
Some highlights of Avery’s season so far include five individual wins (that I know of), a new course record on her home course, and first place at the Northern Vermont Athletic Conference championship.
I emailed Avery to ask about her season, after being tipped off about her winning streak, and despite the many similarities I perceived between the two of us, Avery very quickly proved to me that she has a much more mature mentality about racing and training than I did at that age…or even in my early 20’s.
What has been your best/favorite XC running experience so far?
The league’s meet last weekend was my favorite because of the competition. The race was really close and it was really cool to win. [Avery won the NVAC league meet with a time of 20:27, about 11 seconds ahead of Harwood’s Grace Butler.]
Your state meet is this weekend. Do you have a personal or team goal that you’d like to share?
My goal is to qualify for New England’s, which means I have to be in the top 25, which I think I can do.
Do you play a spring sport?
I do track and field in the spring.
What is your favorite thing about cross-country running?
I like how it’s based on your abilities and your team’s. Everyone has a personal goal they want to beat and racing to beat a goal and challenge yourself is fun. I also like the endurance part.
What is your least favorite thing?
I don’t really have a least favorite. All the hard training and running comes with the sport and you can’t really do the sport if there isn’t a little pain involved!
Do you feel that your skiing training benefits your running training (and vice-versa?)
Definitely. I felt that I was a lot stronger of a runner after training all summer; it felt a little more effortless to do longer, harder runs. I think in some ways running all the time benefits, but sometimes I don’t have time to get in strength workouts, or do roller skiing, which I think is important to do.
Which do you like better, XC skiing or Running?
I like them both the same! I like them because they are both endurance sports and they both require the same qualities. I enjoy running because you have more control and it doesn’t really require any technique, you can just do it without needing to think about what your body is doing, although it does require some strategy.
Best of luck to Avery this weekend in the State Championship meet at Thetford, and going forward as she continues to pursue cross-country running, skiing, and track & field.
And for the short term, here’s A goal for you.