Editor’s Note: With the senior high cross country state championships less than a month away, we’ll take the next few weeks to spotlight some of the senior athletes running for the Mansfield Tigers.
New to the running world is senior Lady Tiger Natalie Brewer. Primarily a volleyball player throughout her younger athletic years, it was this summer that one of Mansfield’s most consistent runners this season decided to join the cross country team.
“You have to have endurance,” said Brewer with a slight grin. “I didn’t know there would be this much running. But, after I get done I feel really good. We run a lot but it makes me happy. It’s about achievement and accomplishment.”
Brewer joined the cross country crew in July. It was then that the core of the team both junior and senior high began the conditioning runs to compete this fall. As a beginner, she was in the early level one group. Quickly she elevated herself into the high level ones and has been running with the level two regularly now.
“We didn’t know what to expect when Natalie first joined,” said John Mackey her coach this season. “I always thought she was athletic and could make a runner. When she was younger she didn’t have the mentality for it. But, this summer she jumped in and real embraced what we were doing. It’s been a really positive fit for the team and Natalie. She’s accepted tough training and has been a real bright spot for the team.”
Brewer has been among the top five scorers for Mansfield’s senior girls nearly every time out this cross country schedule. There have been times she has delivered in the top two as far as performance.
“I feel good about my progress,” exclaimed Brewer. “I’d like to maybe even qualify for the All-Star team at the end of the year. I’ve hit the 25’s and would like to get down to the 24’s or even 23’s.”
On her first full 5K race, Brewer completed the nearly 3.1 mile course in just over 27 minutes. Her low for the season came at Acorn in 25:21. With the Southwest Regional scheduled for that same venue, it might just be an opportunity for the senior newcomer to hit her goal.
“I like cross country because it’s much about the individual,” stated Brewer. “It’s a team sport too but you can really focus on your own performance. We try to support one another and pull each other along. That makes the meets so much fun when we can do it together.”
Brewer will soon be making her first trip to the state meet. In fact, it is her first state championship in any sport since she has been participating in athletics.
“I think she will do terrific,” expressed Mackey. “Natalie is a wonderful person. She’s very smart, and holds herself to high standards. She will work to be better. I look forward to the results.”