Meet Your Footlocker Finalist: Sarah Schmitt

Sarah will be competing in her second straight national championship race this weekend in San Diego

Sarah Schmitt l Naperville North I SENIOR

Regional finish: 4th place- 17:30

Naperville North girls in general come in as talented but well coached and that is a fact that everyone knows. But what may not be as well known is the improvement of its runners from freshman to senior year. Sarah Schmitt ran a sizzling 17:04 as a freshman for three miles. She would place 30th at the state meet in her introductory season for the Huskies. This season is where we saw the most incremental improvements from junior year. Schmitt dropped her time from 16:51 to 16:33. Aside from finishing inside the top 10 in every race this season was the drop at NXN from 53rd to 8th! The newly minted All-American will have one more shot in San Diego to show and prove.

Coach Dan Iverson's thoughts on his star pupil:

"Sarah has taken a step forward over the last year, and she has emerged as a tremendous leader on our team. She is obviously running very well, but she has consistently made us better by the person she  is and the example she sets daily. She is truly a humble leader who understands the balance that must exist between competitive greatness and enjoying the moment."


Question and Answer session with Sarah Schmitt:

How do you explain your steady rise as a runner in that you improved each year? 
In terms of growing as a runner each year, I think it's a huge part of our program. I wasn't an outstanding runner coming in freshmen year, but I loved the summer camp and pushed myself each day. As that season progressed and I made the varsity line up that ended up winning State that year, I realized the importance of hard work but also the importance of a team. Without girls who pushed each other and who genuinely cared about the family atmosphere on the team, I wouldn't have grown into the runner I became as a freshmen. From there, it was steps forward as an individual but also as the result of our team. I was able to run faster paces because my running group began hitting those times and pushing each other to those faster targets. Each year was the same idea, with motivation to improve and achieve high targets as both a team and an individual. Really though, I attribute it to my teammates and my coach for making me love the sport and want to do well for my team.

Can you tell us the feeling in going into racing both nationals this season? Was it a goal at the beginning of the season? 
Racing at both national meets was definitely a target at the beginning of the season, but something that kind of took a back burner as we worked on growing and improving as a team. Qualifying as a team was a priority for me, because each race we've ran for each other and that's something that has made us powerful. Running at Footlocker was something I wanted to do before I graduated, but I honestly didn't expect to qualify. However, I'm very very excited that I did, and I'm looking forward to focusing on this race!

You have finished in the top 10 of every race this season. With one more to go, where do you see yourself finishing? 
Footlocker is a new thing for me, but I definitely have some high targets. I don't have a specific number or time in mind, but I would like to race to the best of my ability and see what I can do. It's going to be fun to focus on a race where I don't really have an idea where I'll finish, so I'm going to go out there and give it all I got and see where that puts me.

How do you approach the weather transformation which you will go from 35 to 75 on race day?
The weather transformation would be one of those things I can't control, so I'm not going to worry too much about that. I'll be sure to be hydrated, but it's still a race so I'll approach it the same way I do any other race. My coach likes to tell us to control what we can control, and to not waste time worrying about what you can't.

Finally, what does it mean to represent yourself one last time as a Naperville North Huskie cross country runner?.. thanks and good luck to you! 
I'm so incredibly blessed to be a part of the Huskie cross country program. It has shaped me both as a runner and as a person, and I can say I'm better in all aspects because of it. Through running I've met some of the most influential and inspiring people, as well as some of my best friends, so this last cross country race of high school will be for them. I'm going to run my heart out for them, because I know that's what they would do if they were in my position. Go Dawgs!!