‘Running is just in my blood’
Published 4:50 pm Saturday, November 7, 2015
King’s Fork High School junior Paige Summers doesn’t take long to get where she’s going.
For example, she decided to take up cross country this year and quickly established herself as the leader of the Lady Bulldogs.
For the girls’ 5,000-meter run, she has gone from a 24:44 time in her first cross country run on Sept. 9 to a time of 21:09.4 in the Region 4A East championships on Wednesday.
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On Oct. 27, she produced a then-personal record time of 21:30.21 in the Conference 17 championships. She placed fourth overall individually, helping her team advance to regionals and helping her earn the title of Duke Automotive-Suffolk News-Herald Player of the Week.
“I was very proud of my performance,” Summers said of her conference run. “It was definitely a hard run in the beginning, but I had to push through. I wanted to be the top for Suffolk, and I wanted to PR, and that’s what I did.”
She has learned that if she puts her mind to it, she can accomplish amazing things.
“If you have a positive mindset, that’s like half the battle,” she said.
Summers says her mother, Traci Summers, influenced her to get into cross country.
“My mom is a huge runner — she used to run marathons — and I always liked running, and I decided to try it out,” Paige Summers said. “At first I didn’t think I was going to do as well as I did, but I guess running is just in my blood.”
Her mother said she was surprised Paige wanted to try out for the cross country team this year, and her surprise has only grown as Paige has become faster.
“Her times are better than mine,” Traci Summers said. “It must kind of run in the blood.”
The elder Summers said her daughter has made her incredibly proud this year, and Paige noted her mom’s encouragement has helped make her success possible.
“She’s just my biggest fan,” Paige Summers said. “I couldn’t ask for a better supporter.”
King’s Fork cross country coach Adrian Young could hardly be more excited about Summers and her potential.
“Paige is absolutely awesome,” he said. “To drop from 24 to 21 (minutes) is crazy, so next year, I don’t see anything stopping her from running 19 easily, early on in the season.”
In addition to what she has done for herself, her impact on her teammates has been remarkable, as demonstrated at the conference championships.
“She made every other (Lady Bulldog get a) PR because the race strategy was to try to maintain with Paige,” Young said.
Summers said she thinks her nature of being driven and pushing herself to the limit has pushed the team forward.
“I try to stick with the guys, and the girls see me do it, and they think that they can do it too,” she said.