Girls Distance Runners Begin Freshman Track Career with Flying Colors


Butterflies fly in their stomachs as the girls step up to the line and then bang, off they go. They get out fast around the first turn in order to set themselves up for a successful race. This season, the girls distance team gained three outstanding freshmen: Clara Herr, Ella Bulava, and Regan Reilly. This trio’s success comes from their endurance, speed, and most of all, their competitive drive.

They all started running track in junior high and wanted to continue throughout high school; however, they started for different reasons. 

Clara said, “I became interested in track growing up after watching my dad coach both cross country and track. I just started running over the summer and gradually fell in love with it.” Clara became a crucial part of the cross country team finishing first on the team for a majority of the season. 

As for Ella and Regan, they both play soccer in the fall and track in the spring on top of club soccer. Always laughing and joking around, both girls have created a close bond with each other. They have been friends since elementary school and over the years have become even closer through sports. 

Ella explained, “I thought it would be a fun thing to do in the spring as well as, help keep me in shape for soccer as I got more serious.”

Regan has been running 5Ks from a young age and enjoyed running them with her family. Her older sister Morgan, her younger sister Robin, and her mom would all run together. Regan said, “Morgan told me track was a fun experience.”

Regan and Ella both have busy lives going from track to soccer most nights. Occasionally, they miss practices or have to leave early. Regan explained, “I make the most of what I can. I am lucky that track practice is right after school and then soccer is later at night.” Ella added, I have been fortunate enough to not have many conflicts between track and soccer. However, sometimes it is hard to go from practice to practice, but I make sure to stay hydrated and eat healthy.” 

  The girls make up three quarters of the 4×800 relay.  So far this season, the relay has been solid. They get out fast, find their pace, and try to keep both laps consistent as to not die out. These strategies have made for many successful races. At the Lady Spartan Invitational, the girls medaled coming in 4th out of 17 teams with a time of 10:26. 

 As individuals, Ella is an 800 runner while both Clara and Regan are primarily 1600 meter runners, also known as the mile. 

Running their first varsity meet was exciting and nerve racking at the same time. As the season progresses the girls are having the opportunity to run at invitations, including the Lady Spartan and the Butler Invitational. Clara said, “ I was extremely nervous not knowing how good the competition was going to be.” 

 Although the girls have six meets under their feet, they have lots of room for improvement. One thing that all three of them struggle with is finding the right pace. 

Clara explains, “ I need to work on the start of my races. I always start out too slow and that makes it hard to catch the pack.” 

On the flip side, Ella said, “I always get out too quick. Being an 800 runner, I as well, need to improve my long distance speed.

Regan always has a strong start to her races, but she needs to work on having more even splits in the mile, meaning that each 400/lap is around the same time.

Since 7th grade, the girls have created a close bond allowing them to run well together on top of having a fun time at practice even when the workouts get tough. Regan said, “ I hate hill sprints the most.” 

Clara took a different approach saying, “ I don’t like the atmosphere of meets and the limited time in between events.” However, Clara does love the feeling of running down the home stretch and through the finish line. 

Throughout the season, the girls all hope to bring their times down, capturing many PR’s, also known as personal records. Regan said, “Aside from PRing, my goals are to hopefully make it to WPIALS and it would be a dream come true to qualify for States.” Ella as well, hopes the girls can make it to States as a relay or even on her own. 

All three girls love being a part of an amazing team and are excited to meet new people along the way.  Overall, Clara, Regan, and Ella have had a strong start to their Freshman track season and will only continue to improve as they gain more experience through racing as well as, learning from upperclassmen.  Along with their workouts and advice from Coach Duda, their confidence will soar and their times will drop.