Girl’s Cross Country head coach Neil James said that Sofia Parker has been the team’s number one runner consistently throughout the 2018 season.
James said that as a freshman, Parker was “still trying to figure things out” but has fast grown into a leadership position as a sophomore on the team.
“She has grown a lot this year in the way that she handles herself,” James said. “She is very focused.”
At the Forest Park meet on Sept. 8, Parker was a top runner despite brutal rainy and muddy conditions. The meet in St. Louis had some of the top teams in Missouri, according to James.
James said that Parker also performs well in workouts and practices, always with a smile on her face and a positive attitude.
“The other girls look to her. They enjoy the positive energy that she brings.”
James said that Parker will continue to progress during the latter part of her high school cross country career.
With her improved mental approach this year compared to her freshman year, James said he believes it has made her an overall better runner.
“Her family is big into running. She has a brother who is on the boy’s team and mom and dad are very involved,” he said.
James said that while Parker is a very skilled runner, she also seems to enjoy herself.
“Her energy level has been such a bonus for us this year,” he said.
James said that the girl’s cross country team are all “outstanding students.”
“[Parker] does a great job in the classroom while taking a very demanding schedule,” James said.
With only one senior in the team’s top 14 runners, girl’s cross country has a lot of young potential.
“We have had a lot of younger kids but the progress Parker and some other runners have made has made a big difference,” James said. “We have had really good leadership with kids stepping up and taking control and kind of improving the attitude on the team. The girls have had a lot of fun.”
Besides the race in Forest Park, James said that the team has travelled to compete in Peoria as well as the Chicago area against other top schools.
“We have taken really tough competition but the girls have been improving and times keep dropping so we are excited to see how sectionals go this weekend.”
Sectionals will take place in Quincy and the top five teams will qualify for state.
“The girls’s are pretty confident,” James said.