Senior utilizes passion for running as a tool for growth

Senior Alyssa Perry pushes through the five kilometer girls’ cross country race at Rim Rock Farm on Sept. 23, 2017.

Jacob Ward

Senior Alyssa Perry pushes through the five kilometer girls’ cross country race at Rim Rock Farm on Sept. 23, 2017.

Abby Smith, Graphic Design Editor

Senior Alyssa Perry discovered her love of running four years ago and has been using it to improve her life ever since. She has been a member of the De Soto High School cross country team since freshman year and enjoys running on her own as a hobby.

“I think I have a really good relationship with running,” Perry said. “It’s almost therapeutic for me. It helps me get all the stress out of my mind just by going on a run.”

Perry found cross country in middle school, where she “liked the idea of competing individually by scoring as a group.” In cross country, each team member scores points equivalent to the place they finish in, and the team with the lowest score wins. As a result, every team member is essential to the team succeeding as a whole.

Another aspect of running that Perry enjoyed was the positive psychological impact it had on her.

“It [my love of running] rooted from just wanting to do cross country, and then I realized it helps with your mental health and stress.”

Perry’s passion for running led her to the DHS cross country team. This year, Perry is team captain along with four other seniors, something new this year that Perry says makes a difference.

“I think having captains this year has made it more senior-oriented, and the seniors kind of take charge and help the underclassmen and become friends with them that way,” Perry said. “We have such a great team atmosphere this year. Everyone just knows each other and feels comfortable talking or asking questions.”

Cross country coach Ben Stamey says that Perry makes a great captain for the team.

“She’s a leader on the course and off the course,” Stamey said. “She’s a team captain because of her personality. Her attitude is what we want all our runners to aspire to be.”

While Perry’s cross country journey has been fun, she also experienced some setbacks along the way.

“Freshman year I got plantar fasciitis … where the arch of your foot flares up so it hurts to walk, so I had to cure it by not running,” Perry said. “Sophomore year, my hip flexor flared up really bad. I had to face a lot of adversity from that.”

These complications, however, made Perry realize “how hard it is not to run for a while.”

Perry pushed through her injuries to reach goals that she is proud of.

“My biggest accomplishment was when I ran a half marathon after my freshman year of running cross country,” Perry said. “I just trained myself for that, and then I did it again after my sophomore year.”

In competitions, Stamey says that Perry is a “smart runner.”

“In a cross country race you can get tired early and have a bad race,” Stamey said. “She’s learned not to do that. She’s learned to control herself, control her pace, so that she can be aggressive at the end and beat more people at the end when they’re tired. Not every runner has the intelligence that she has.”

Stamey has enjoyed coaching Perry and watching her “grow as an athlete and a person.”

As for Perry’s future, she plans to continue her passion for running.

“I plan on just to continue it [running] for fun,” Perry said. “I want to do marathons and join a trail running team and stuff, but I don’t plan to run for a college team.”

Perry says that running has changed her for the better.

“It makes the problems I have in my life a little bit smaller. I get a better perspective on it [the problems] once I run,” Perry observed.