This is: Under 60 Seconds

How track has shaped Xiomara Gill

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This is: Under 60 Seconds

Xiomara Gill, 11, coming around the curve, heading into the final stretch of the 400m.

Xiomara Gill, 11, coming around the curve, heading into the final stretch of the 400m.

Xiomara Gill, 11, coming around the curve, heading into the final stretch of the 400m.

Xiomara Gill, 11, coming around the curve, heading into the final stretch of the 400m.

Brianna Jacobs, Writer

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400 meters. It’s just one lap around the track and is really neither a sprint nor a long distance race, but it is recognized as one of the toughest endurance races. For junior Xiomara Gill, this is her race.

Gill found out about track at a summer camp in the fourth grade and fell in love with running. She went on to join her middle school’s track team and continued in high school. Now a junior, Gill’s senior season is just right around the corner.

“Track gives me a reason to go a little harder and it’s become something that I think about daily just to remind me of the future I want,” Gill said.

Gill looks up to Olympic sprinters Allyson Felix, who runs the 400m in 49.26 seconds, and Sydney McLaughlin, who runs it in 50.07 seconds. Gill also ran the 400 under a minute this season, holding the season-best record, at 58.68 seconds. On average it takes Olympic athletes a 52.20 seconds to qualify.

“Breaking [running under] 60 seconds was one of the best feelings in the world because I knew how hard I worked for it and it just felt like a breakthrough and a sign that I can do even greater,”

Mid-distance and hurdle coach, Melissa Houghton, sees not only the hard work Gill puts in at practice, but how she interacts kindly with her teammates.

“She encourages people to do better, even when they have a bad race,” Houghton said.

“She stays positive and exudes confidence. Her times have gone down and she’s a lot stronger. She not only leads the stretches at practices but runs with the boys.”

Houghton sees how Gill does actual work outside of practice and not only remains focused, determined and dedicated but how she’s not afraid to ask for help or advice.

Head Track Coach Alan Lambert says that Gill demonstrates leadership through example.

“She always expects more out of her stuff, but even though she sets a PR [personal record] she’s never satisfied. She’s always seeking to improve,”

Lambert has also seen how Gill has improved from the beginning of the season to now. “She was kind of coming off of an injury from last year and I think she was a little nervous to see how her body would react to the practices. She’s a little looser now. She’s enjoying it instead of worrying.”

Gill’s teammates Justyn Smith and Sydni Brown both compete in the 400m as well.

“Seeing her run and her motivation at practice inspires me to push myself and do better,” Smith says.

“I feel that she pushes me to want to work harder because she works hard and pushes really hard in track,” Brown adds.

With continued hard work and determination, Xiomara Gill is sure to not only have a successful senior season but an amazing future as well.

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