Born to Run

Natalie Svarc is taking her senior year by storm, inside and outside of the classroom. In addition to her Sequoia EIC duties, she is looking to compete in cross country.

Running, whether it be for fun or to be competitive, is a sport senior Natalie Svarc is drawn to.

As college is approaching for upperclassmen, running at the collegiate level is in the picture for many, including Svarc. But for now, she has a goal set to bring her team to sectionals.

“Last season the girls team made it to sectionals, which was a huge accomplishment for us since we have not made it for the last couple of years,” Svarc said.

With her success both UW-Lacrosse and UW-Stevens Point have reached out to Svarc for a possible spot on their teams. These schools have noticed the dedication and hardwork that she puts in; Svarc ran roughly 300 miles during summer break in order to help her prepare for the upcoming season.

“I also competed unattached for the USATF Junior Olympics and I made it all the way to nationals where I placed 6th for the 2000 meter steeplechase,” Svarc said.

Bringing her summer experiences into the new season, Svarc hopes that it all pays off once regionals come around.

Being a captain on the team, Svarc had to fill the shoes of previous captain Natalie Hill a graduated runner who Svarc watched closely in preparation for her turn to lead. With that in mind, Svarc has taken up the role with confidence in her leadership.

Fellow teammate and junior, varsity runner Amber Carson has been just one of the people whom have been affected by Svarc’s presence on the team.

“Natalie is positive, ambitious, diligent and persistent,” Carson said. “All of her qualities affect the team and make us do better as a whole; because of her [the team] is excited to go to practice.”

One thing every team should have is a person with a positive attitude: a person who is capable of lifting others up and building spirit. Captains are determined based off of a team vote, rather than being chosen by the head coach; it was a clear decision to have Svarc as the next captain during her senior year.

“She leads by example and I feel that her encouragement, along with positivity, brings other together,” coach Chris Bailey said. “As a captain that is what [the coaches] need our champions to do.”

Svarc has accepted her leadership role with excitement. Although surrounded by personal friends, Svarc emphasizes a difference between a captain’s mentality and a runner’s. When it comes down to business she is able to hone in and get work done this could be anywhere from her individual accomplishments or simply leading the team in a work out.

“I view Natalie as both a captain and a positive teammate,” Carson said. “She is very motivational and the perfect person to look up to. I can’t imagine what the team would be like if she wasn’t there.”

In order for the team to succeed it is very important for runners of all levels to feel like they are included and contributing to something greater than just individual victories.

“Natalie certainly has the ability to lead the younger kids and that is what we need from a veteran,” Bailey said. “We need her to take the freshmen, sophomores and juniors and get them to believe in the team and everything in which the program stands for.”

Svarc motivates her teammates : when someone is upset about how their performance is, she will pick them up and help them improve; she takes her teammates opinions into consideration and will help change workouts to fit each individual.

“During practice when she runs by she will high five me and the others around, while also motivating them verbally,” Carson said.  “At the end of her runs she always asks how our workouts went and helps us see the good in running even when we are hurting.”

Looking at where Svarc started shows how much she has done with her running. She participated in middle school cross country and track and field. Over the years, Svarc developed a love for the sport that has helped shape the person she is today.

“If you take her from freshman year until now, her performance and times have improved,” Bailey said. “She has put the time in during the season as well as during the off-season and she has always made sure to train hard.”

This ties in with getting the underclassmen and other levels of runners truly involved and passionate about what they do. No matter what team the runners are on, they still are a part of cross country and contribute to the program. Everyone starts somewhere, so with hard work and dedication they can move their way through the ranks.

“I really noticed that last winter in the off-season she was exhibiting a pace which was much faster than it was the previous two years along with an improvement in her strength,” Bailey said.