Knelt down in a runner’s stance, eyes closed, mind clear, you’re only thinking about the race ahead, praying that it’s good and clean.
As the gun sounds, you take off into a sprint with 30 other runners from different schools, trying to gain separation.
You race to the lead.
No one is in front of you.
The finish line is within sight, but the fatigue sets in.
You somehow muster up enough energy and the rest of your adrenaline kicks in. You finish in first.
You do so your senior year, against the rival Durango TrailBlazers.
Fast-forward to the end of the season, and your teammates name you the squad’s most valuable player.
This has been the senior year of Spring Valley High School’s Kristina White, 18.
Around school, she can be seen wearing her blue varsity jacket with white sleeves. She appears soft-spoken.
However, if you look closely at the jacket, you can see two varsity letters and a giant “C,” for captain of the cross-country team.
Her senior year was her fourth year of varsity cross-country.
Though she’s excelled at running, White’s first love in athletics was a different sport.
“I’ve played soccer most of my life and enjoyed playing it on many club teams,” she says.
At the age of 5, she scored her first goal.
However soccer and cross-country seasons are both in the fall, so White chose to focus on the latter.
“My freshman year I wanted to try something new,” she says. “Found out that I really loved (cross-country), so I continued to run.”
During White’s senior year, in 10 races, she finished in the top five seven times and in first place once.
Unlike many high school athletes, White doesn’t aspire to play sports in college. She’ll forgo them when she attends the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in the fall.
Still, she sticks to a very strict diet (carbs, protein drinks and no processed sugars) and a daily training regimen.
During the offseason, White trains five days a week for 2½ hours per practice. With the final school period ending at 1:16 p.m., White wastes little time transitioning from school to training.
Some days, White can be seen on the Grizzly News Network giving the daily announcements. She said her favorite part of doing the news is anchoring it.
“It’s fun! There’s not really any pressure or anything,” she says, laughing. “I get recognized a lot which can be fun, but it is a little weird when people ask for my autograph .”
Outside the classroom and off the field of play, White, a scholar athlete who holds a 3.83 unweighted grade-point average, likes to read and write.
“Sometimes I like to write stories, sometimes poetry, but I don’t like sharing it,” White says. “Just something to get my emotions out if I feel stressed or just for enjoyment.”
White also says that she and her family volunteer about four hours a week at soup kitchens, when they have the time.
As White finished at her last cross-country race, she was sad; she wouldn’t be able to cross the finish line anymore in high school.
But overall, she felt satisfaction for what she’d accomplished in the past four years.