Quick Study: First-year varsity athlete is The Republic Girls Cross-Country Runner of Year

Columbus North’s Carys Glyn-Jones is The Republic Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Mike Wolanin | The Republic

After moving with her family from South Africa near the end of her freshman year, Carys Glyn-Jones decided to join the Columbus North cross-country team as a sophomore last fall as a way to meet new friends.

Glyn-Jones didn’t make the Bull Dogs varsity team that sophomore year, but she made a big-time jump as a junior. She ended up being their No. 1 runner at the end of the season and is this year’s The Republic Girls Cross-Country Runner of the Year.

“I think I just found a newfound love for the sport, and that really helped me to work hard because when I was first in cross-country, I was new,” Glyn-Jones said. “I had just moved here and it was to make friends and to get to know people and have a fun sport to do. But I started to realize just how much I loved the culture and how much I actually enjoy running, and that just gave me motivation and it allowed for me to work hard every day.”

Glyn-Jones, who ran sprints for the North girls track team after arriving in the spring of her freshman year, showed a glimpse of how good a distance runner she could be during her sophomore track season. She ran on the Bull Dogs’ state champion 4×800-meter relay team and was a state qualifier in the 800.

“After watching her track season last year, we knew that Carys would be up front for us,” North cross-country and track coach Rick Sluder said. “She battled a little injury early in the season that bothered her for awhile, and then once she got over that, she just took off. When we saw her in July right before team camp, we knew that she was really fit, and she was going to be really good. Was it a surprise that she ran 18:28? Maybe a little bit, but it wasn’t a surprise that she was up front, and her and Kyleigh (Wolf) made a very good 1-2 punch for us the last couple of meets.”

A hip injury early in the cross-country season sidelined Glyn-Jones for a couple of meets, including the Conference Indiana meet. But she came back strong and kept improving throughout the second half of the season.

With a previous personal-best of 20:06 for 5,000 meters (3.1 miles), Glyn-Jones shattered that with a 19:10.6 in finishing fourth in the Brown County Sectional. She set a new PR at the Evansville Semistate, when she finished fifth in 19:01.0, then again at state, when she ran 18:28.5 to finish 28th and lead North to a 12th-place team finish.

“I think the difference between when I came into track vs. coming into cross-country was, in track, I was not used to being varsity. I was more JV, and I was finding out that I actually enjoyed running, and I put more effort in,” Glyn-Jones said. “But I think coming into the cross-country season, I had a lot of difficulties with my hip and all that, but it was something that I got over very quickly, and it turned out to be not as big of a thing as I was scared that it was going to be. So after I figured that out, I think it allowed me just to be able to go for it and push myself without a fear of getting a serious injury.”

That injury, as it turns out, didn’t slow her down.

“It was very on and off,” Glyn-Jones said. “A lot of it was figuring out what it was. I went to physical therapy, and it got sorted out very quickly, and after that, I was good to go.”

Glyn-Jones is hoping to run in college and might pursue studying something in law.

This weekend, Glyn-Jones and some of her Bull Dog teammates will compete in the Garmin Running Lane National Championships in Huntsville, Alabama. Then, the focus will turn to track season.

“I think she’s somebody who’s going to be a leader in our 800 and 4×800 and 4×400,” Sluder said. “I expect her to have an outstanding track season. Then, her coming back (in cross-country) and being a part of Kyleigh, Ainsley (Sherlock) and her really giving us a 1-2-3 punch that might be as good as anybody in the state.”

“My goals for the team are to just keep working hard and place high,” Glyn-Jones added. “As far as personal goals, it would be amazing to get All-State, and my main goal would just to be to break my time and get the fastest time I can possibly get.”

Glyn-Jones is pleased with the progression her running career has made and with the way her cross-country season went.

“I’m just really happy about it,” Glyn-Jones said. “I think that I put in a lot of hard work, especially after I felt like I was losing a lot of my season, not necessarily because I didn’t get to run a lot, but because I didn’t get to push myself for fear of getting a worse injury. So I really just said in the last few weeks, ‘I really want to push myself and do the best I can do.’ At practice every day, every run and every workout, I said to myself, ‘I need to ensure that this workout, I push myself, and I know that it’s a good workout that I didn’t hold back, and I musn’t be lazy or be scared of feeling tired and that it would just pay off,’ so I just pushed myself every practice, and then when it came to race day, I just ran until I had no energy left.”

The Republic All-Area Girls Cross-Country team:

Carys Glyn-Jones, Columbus North: The junior finished fourth in the sectional, fifth in the regional and 29th at state.

Kyleigh Wolf, Columbus North: The junior finished third in the sectional, ninth in the regional and 135th at state.

Ainsley Sherlock, Columbus North: The sophomore finished fifth in the sectional, 18th in the regional and 94th at state.

Emma Lowther, Columbus North: The freshman finished 10th in the sectional, 51st in the regional and 166th at state.

Tristan Works, Columbus North: The freshman finished 12th in the sectional, 64th in the regional and 185th at state.

Macy Eaton, Columbus North: The junior finished eighth in the sectional, 32nd in the regional and 220th at state.

Katie Frazier, Columbus North: The junior finished 13th in the sectional, and 232nd at state.

Carly Otte, Columbus East: The senior finished 17th in the sectional and 92nd in the regional.

Haley Vogel, Jennings County: The junior finished 22nd in the sectional and 99th in the regional.

Honorable mention

Brown County: Sadie Hiatt, Izzy Miller. Columbus East: Hayden Carothers, Abigail Collins, Victoria Cuhadar, Amelia Fay, Madison Swartzenbruber. Columbus North: Maggie Russell, Lydia Weed, Lana Wisler. Jennings County: Kambrie Maschino, Addie Otte, Isla Stevens, Molly Wathen, Alana Watts, Avery Willhite.