Stefanie Parsonsʼ journey begins at top

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 at 4:00 PM
Stefanie Parsonsʼ journey begins at top by Mike Lantinen
Photo: Jacob McCool

In current Edinboro head cross country coach Ryan Foster’s second year at the head of the team, the youth movement has taken full effect on the women’s side.

In a recent test in State College, Pa., Edinboro’s freshmen garnered five of the six top spots, and four of the  five scoring positions. So far, leading the way for them has been Ontario native Stefanie Parsons, who spoke to The Spectator about the challenges that come from college athletics and academics.

Parsons was a late bloomer in the sport, a common case in distance running, but she feels it’s an advantage for her.

“It’s almost better to start running later; I’m not worn out from any running I did when I was younger,” Parsons said.

From the small town of Georgetown, Ontario, a 40-minute drive from Toronto, Parsons’ journey to becoming an Edinboro Fighting Scot was an odd one. Playing hockey until 10th grade, she would finally make the decision to join the cross country team a er her success on the track proved too much to ignore.

In her 2016 campaign as a junior at Christ the King High School, Parsons took first and second in the 1,500-meter and 3,000-meter runs while at the OFSAA South Regional Championships in St. Catherine’s, Ontario. She would follow that up with another impressive year in 2017 with a 56 second improvement on her personal best in the 3,000 and a performance at the 1,500 that earned her a GHAC Championship.

During her cross country career, she was able to have similar success, earning a fourth place finish in her territory championship (our state meet equivalent), followed up by an 11th place  nish at the national meet.

On her decision to come to the U.S. for competition, she said, “I wanted to compete in the NCAA, the competition is simply better.”

Coming into her first season, she had hoped to be the top performing freshman and while she’ll continue to look toward those goals, she’s quickly realized that it’s become more than that.

“I like that we all came in together, we run as a group and on any given day someone di erent will take the lead and challenge the rest of us.”

Other than the general increase in training intensity and amount of training that she has had to do, the transition has proven to be effortless. For Parsons, the “college town” atmosphere was interesting because in her native country of Canada universities tend to be larger and few and far between.

In a conference that’s consistently offered the opportunity for Edinboro to make their nationals bid, this team will try and balance their inexperience with the element of surprise.

Mike Lantinen is the sports editor for The Spectator. He can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com.

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