Parisi represents Oakville at cross country’s state meet


Photo by Maria Parisi

Maria Parisi (10) runs during the cross country state meet at Gans Creek in Columbia November 6. ¨It was a great experience, I really liked cross country, the team was great, I loved the coaches and the teammates,¨ Parisi said.

Maria Parisi (10) was the first girl to represent OHS at Missouri’s state cross country meet in eight years despite it being her first year participating in cross country for the school. Parisi placed 70 out of approximately 164 runners at the meet on Nov. 6.

“I started swimming at a very young age and I’ve been doing that for longer, so it helped me build up certain muscles that you wouldn’t think would help you in running, but they do,” Parisi said.

Parisi stopped swimming competitively this year, allowing the fall season to be filled with a new sport. Cross country’s endurance and cardiovascular focused training and performance appealed to her.

“I wanted to do something more to keep me in shape and I tried cross country,” Parisi said. “I really enjoyed it and found that I was good at it.”

In addition to the physical aspects of long distance running that initially attracted Parisi to the sport, cross country’s ability to be almost completely individual also intrigued her.

“You know that how much you train and how hard you practice will pay off when you run a 5k every week,” Parisi said.

This, coupled with Parisi’s positive attitude she prioritizes during races, allowed her to make it to state this year. Cross country is not only physically challenging, but it also requires overcoming mental hurdles such as fear, anxiety and losing optimism.

 “I wouldn’t say that I was intimidated or scared by them (the other runners),” Parisi said. “When you’re running, you keep your eye on them and watch them just to help you do better.”

Parisi seems to have mastered the mental front, but she believes she can do even better.

“I think it has definitely benefited me for track coming up,” Parisi said. “I know my certain strengths and weaknesses, and I know how to build up on those strengths and also work on the weaknesses, and I think that I can do better.”

Though Parisi thought she could have done even better this cross country season, Parisi said that her teammates and coaches helped her along the way.

“It feels awesome,” Parisi said. “They were really supportive, and it was pretty cool to know that a girl hasn’t gone to state since 2013.”