The Fab Four: Women’s cross country varsity features four sophomores

Sophomores Amara Lytle, Natalie DeGabriele, Sara Goodenbour and Jules Fromm have been running together since seventh grade and all now run for varsity cross country. They are the only four sophomores out this year, but they are all in the top 10 varsity.

Sophomores Natalie DeGabriele, Jules Fromm, Sara Goodenbour and Amara Lytle have been running together since seventh grade and all now run for varsity cross country. They are the only four sophomores out this year, but they are all in the top 10 varsity.  

The girls have formed a tight bond through running together over the years, and it has helped them grow and progress as runners. Knowing each other going into the season allowed them to be comfortable with each other.  

Their bond was strengthened by being the only ones in their grade to return from last year.

“Us being the only sophomores that returned from last year made us a little bit stronger as a group realizing that we can work together to make ourselves better,” DeGabriele said.

The girls use each other to help them get through the grueling workouts they have to overcome.  

“When the workouts are tough, it helps to have close friends around you to get you through it, and it helps to know that we all share the same pain and we can fight through it together,”

Fromm said.   

It is not easy for them to maintain their running levels. There are many factors that go into staying in shape and being prepared for the season. When they aren’t in cross country season, they are either running track or doing workouts together outside of the season. “Unlike other sports, we pretty much start in June and work all year round. It is non-stop work, and it is not like you can just go out there after a few months and expect to get the same results. It takes a lot of months of preparation to get ready,” Degabriele said.

A healthy mindset is very key in running and is a very important part of the girl’s season.  

To Lytle, running is all about finding her bliss.

“You have to find little joys and little moments of happiness in running because sometimes running isn’t the most enjoyable thing to do, but looking for those little moments really makes it worth it.”

“Realizing that running your best race isn’t everything the sport has to offer, and it is more about making connections and supporting the girls around you is more important than trying to beat them,” DeGabriele said.

Coach Amanda Johnson said he appreciates the sophomores’ mental strength as a group.

“These girls run in a few different training groups at practice but strive to push their teammates in workouts. We recently talked about mental toughness and the importance of having teammates by your side at practice and meets. I have seen this group of sophomores take these ideas to heart and use various strategies to stay mentally strong in workouts. What we do in practice transfers over to meets, which means these girls are racing with a stronger mental focus.”

This is the first year that they will be running on varsity, and they said they look to use it as an opportunity to step up as leaders. 

“We had a lot of seniors graduate last year, so this year is kind of like our transition year having a lot of younger girls on varsity this year. Next year we will be even better because we will have more experience under our belts and more time to train,” DeGabriele said.

They are always looking to improve and set goals for themselves.

“I really want to be able to not necessarily run faster times but to feel more happy and get a better feeling when I’m running because that’s something I struggle with and just feel like I did the best I could that day,” Lytle said.

“I would like to grow in my mental toughness because at practices it’s really hard to mentally stay positive for my teammates, and it’s really easy to just complain about the workouts. I want to get better at trying to fight it instead of accepting it and running because I enjoy it and not because I’m forcing myself,” DeGabriele said.

“My goal is to go above and beyond what I have achieved in the past years and push myself to my limit,” Fromm said.  

Johnson said she is proud of the girls and is thrilled to see them grow as runners and as people.

“I have really enjoyed coaching these four sophomores this year. All four of them exhibit strong leadership qualities, will continue to be leaders for our team in the future. It is fun to see how much they have changed since freshman year and amazing to witness how their confidence, desire and determination has grown since last season. They have turned into remarkable leaders, and I’m excited to see what is in store for them in the years ahead.”

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