Sophomore * St. Andrew’s * girls cross country
THE WEEK: Belk finished first in the girls race with a time of 19:03 during the University of Delaware Blue and Gold Invitational meet Friday. With help from Belk’s performance, the Saints took the team title with 50 points.
THE FEELING: Belk ran a little more than 20 seconds faster than the second-place finisher and couldn’t be more excited with the results. “It feels awesome. It was really fun,” Belk said.
THE ENCOURAGEMENT: The sophomore admitted that the race was challenging at times, especially when it came to the hills, but she remembered what her team talked about a few days before. “Where there’s a wall, climb it and you’ll go on the other side,” Belk said.
THE STRATEGY: Belk jumped ahead early in the race and owed her lead to consistency. “I have a natural pace that I just stick with most of the time, and I just motivate myself and give self-positivity and it helps out a lot,” she said.
THE PREPARATION: On race days, Belk has a system and said eating healthy prepares her for every competition. “That day I eat really [well] – like a peanut butter-banana sandwich,” she said.
THE THOUGHT PROCESS: What goes through a competitor’s mind while racing a tough course? “Sometimes a song just plays through my head, like I play a song called ‘Wake Me Up’ because it really motivates me or I just say to myself ‘I’m strong, I’m fast, and I can do it.’ “
THE SEASON: This is Belk’s first year running cross country. Belk played soccer last year and wanted to try something new when the sport was moved to the spring season. “I try to learn how to push myself even when I’m dead tired, so that’s really challenging, but I think I’m starting to learn how to do it,” Belk said. Her best time this season is 18:27, and she’s finished first in the majority of her races.
THE COACH SAYS: Assistant girls coach Jennifer McGowan is thrilled with the new addition to the team and called Belk “the most humble kid in the world.” “I think she keeps improving. … I think she’s reaching that threshold and really figuring out how to race in a more smart and efficient way,” McGowan said.
THE CLASSROOM: The cross country runner’s favorite subject is English. “I love writing and writing about me personally and using my own creativity,” she said.
THE FUTURE: Belk, who enjoys playing lacrosse the most, said cross country also is becoming a favorite sport. The multi-talented athlete doesn’t know if she’ll run after high school, but there’s always a possibility. “Maybe … I would love to do that,” Belk said. “I think as long as I get to have fun doing it.”
– Gianna Banner