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The Eagle's Eye

"Everything that concerns you"

The Eagle's Eye

"Everything that concerns you"

The Eagle's Eye

Ava Linnell makes cross country history

Junior becomes the first female cross country runner from Akins to attend state
Chance Dang
Junior Ava Linnell runs in the Westlake Chaparral Invitational on Aug. 25 at the Southeast Metro Park. She placed 10th at the Invitational being their first meet of the season.

Junior Ava Linnell placed 7th at the 6A regional meet in Corpus Christi with a 5k time of 18:55. Linnell’s top 10 finish earned her a spot to compete in the state meet. Linnell became the first Akins female cross country runner to attend the state meet, finishing her cross country season in 52nd place out of 152 runners with a time of 18:47.

Before she competed at the regional meet, Linnell made school history becoming the first Akins athlete to be named a cross country district champion when she ran a 5K in 18 minutes and 18 seconds. This run broke both her own school record as well as the Walter E. Long course record, where she also broke her own personal record.

Linnell has been running long distances with Akins since her freshman year, cutting minutes from her 5k every year as she progresses in the sport. With the continuous support of her coaches that have helped her improve, she has been able to succeed as she pushes herself further.

Training even before she joined high school, Linnell has put in miles throughout the years. Coach Fransisco Flores has been able to watch her rise to become a leader and one that he can trust as a captain. Linnell has been able to accomplish goals she has set for herself, and goals Flores has set for the team.

As an excellent athlete and example, Linnell has become a role model for the cross country team breaking records and making history for Akins.

The Eagle’s Eye interviewed Ava Linnell and Coach Fransisco Flores about her accomplishments throughout the season.

EE: How long have you been running long distance?

AL: “I have been running long distance since I was in 5th grade. My whole grade trained and ran the cap 10k and I have been running long distance ever since! My first year actually running track was 8th grade and my first year running cross country was freshman year.”

EE: Do you have any goals going forward?

Courtesy Ava Linnell

AL: “Yes, my goal is to continue being competitive with the girls I have been competing with at my races and to just run as good as I can and PR (personal record) if I can.”

EE: What is a piece of advice you have gained for running that you keep with you for races?

AL: “I just know that I am stronger than I think I am and I can always keep improving.”

EE: What do you believe to be one of your weaknesses and what are you doing to improve it?

AL: “Probably just underestimating myself. I try to run and keep up with people that I think I can’t beat but I know I can.”

EE: How do you condition yourself for these races?

AL: “I started by building up my endurance base during the summer by putting in a lot of mileage. When the season started I started working more on speed by running shorter distances and faster, but I still had easy runs and a long run on the weekends to keep my endurance up.”

EE: Do you have a strategy when it comes to these races?

AL: “I find a girl I know is a little bit faster than me so I try to keep up with her and then at the end, I try to make sure I use all my energy so I can pass people if I can.”

EE: Is there a coach or athlete that you look up to as a role model?

AL: “Absolutely Coach Flores and Coach C. They were both really good athletes in college and high school, they know a lot about the sport and they both help me and I respect them.”

Coach Fransisco Flores

EE: What have you observed in regards to Ava’s progression as a runner over the years you have coached her?

FF: “The approach to coaching Ava has always been to not rush her progress. Her 5k time has dropped by over a minute each year and the plan is for her times to continue to steadily drop as she prepares to compete at the collegiate level.”

EE: What are some of Ava’s traits that make her a strong cross country and/or track athlete?

FF: “Ava has reached the level of running maturity where she understands that in order to reach peak physical performance, she’ll need to consistently put in the work. She is also one of the most mentally strong athletes I have ever coached.”

EE: Now that she has won at both district and regionals and made it to the state meet, what do you hope she accomplishes next in cross country and/or track next year?

FF: “I expect Ava to go into next year’s cross country state meet fighting for a top 10 finish with a sub 18 minute 5k time. My dream is for the girls cross country team to advance out of our tough district and compete for a chance to make it to the state meet. Ava will be the leader of that team. As for track, I’d love to see her reach the state meet in either one of the distance events, especially the mile.”

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