For The Tribune
Megan Winter has run to a lot of victories throughout her track and field and cross-country careers at Seymour High School, and she is hoping to add to the list this spring.
She helped the cross-country team advance to state the past two years, with the Owls finishing 19th her junior year and 13th this past fall.
“In my junior year, being the first team to go in high school history was one of the most exciting years,” Winter said. “We knew we had a shot getting out our junior year, but we all had to put in our best effort in order to get out, and we all did that, so the outcome was well worth it.
“My senior year, going into semistate, we knew we wanted to beat Floyd (Central) again because that was the next time we saw them after conference. We beat them to go to state. Our lane assignment at state was lane 13, and our finishing place was 13.”
Through the years, Winter has adapted strategies on the courses.
Last fall, she split her time between running second or third. Her career-best time was 19:26.
“When I would go into a race, I would just run (a steady pace), and if there was someone within my reach, I would pick them out and focus on them, then pass them,” Winter said.
“I never really paid attention to a time because if I was too slow or too fast, that would mess with me in my head the rest of the race. I just ran to make sure I was comfortable and my lungs weren’t beat down.
“The second mile is where you have to hit it hard and put all of it out there because that is when you want to settle in, and the third mile carries you through.”
Winter, who began competing in both sports in seventh grade, was a Hoosier Hills Conference and sectional champion and state qualifier in the 1,600-meter run this past spring in track and field.
She has been selected to run in the Miracle Mile at Franklin Central on April 15.
“I like turning left a lot,” she said about running laps.
“Last year, at the beginning of the season, my coach just told me to give up my watch one race because I was paying too much attention to it. So ever since then, I’ve given up my watch during races, and I don’t pay attention to split times or anything. I’ll just run. I perform my best doing that.”
Her career-best in the 1,600 is 5:25, which she ran at the regional last year.
Winter said time also is important to her in the 800-meter run.
“I’ll make sure I hit that (split), and I’ll kind of calculate in my head, ‘OK, what pace am I at,’ and then I’ll really hit it from there,” Winter said. “Regardless if I’m too fast or too slow, I’ll still have a hard two laps.”
She said she enjoys running the 3,200-meter relay, which is the first event in a meet.
“A lot of times in our 4-by-8 team, we don’t have a lot of competition, so we’ll use that relay as a warmup until the sectional or regional,” Winter said.
Keeping a strong head is important to Winter when she’s running.
“The mental aspect of sports is a huge part, which I didn’t understand that until my junior year,” Winter said.
“I was going to practice and I was like, ‘OK, if you’re head’s not in it, it’s going to be hard to compete at your full capacity.’
“Practice is definitely very important because if you’re not there, you can’t get better. If you’re not putting in the miles, you’re not going to get better. If you’re not pushing yourself, you’re not going to get better. Running in the offseason is a big key.”
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Name: Megan Winter
Parents: Aimee and Frank Winter
Siblings: Courtney, Hannah
Sports: Cross-country 4 years, track and field 4 years
Athletic accomplishments: In cross-country, two-time state qualifier, team 19th in 2014 and 13th in 2015, HHC honorable mention 2013, all-conference 2015. In track and field, 2015 individual HHC and sectional champion and state qualifier in the 1,600-meter run, team sectional champions 2013, 2014 and 2015
Organizations: Student government, class vice president, student athletic board, Riley Dance Marathon committee, Fellowship of Christian Athletes leadership, SCC youth group
Plans after high school: Attend Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and study nursing
Favorite food: Wings from BuffaLouie’s
Favorite TV show: “Shades of Blue”
Favorite musician: Florida Georgia Line
Favorite movie: “Identity Thief”
Favorite team: Indiana Hoosiers
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Q: What’s it like attending SHS?
A: “I enjoy my classes. I think they’re preparing me well for my future and setting me up for a good position for later in life. I’ve had a lot of good, influential teachers throughout my four years here. Aside from winning, I’ll remember all the unity within the team, all the fun we’ve had together, the conversations on our runs and all the dogs barking and chasing us.”
Q: Why do you enjoy cross-country?
A: “Cross-country is like a big family sport. We know what it’s like to go through the workouts, so it’s good to have those kind of teammates who understand the pain that you’re in and the sacrifice you have to make. The parents are a big part, too. One person’s parents are like the whole team’s parents.”
Q: What was it like competing at the state cross-country meet the past two years?
A: “The state course was one of the hardest we ran on because you have to run your tangents because if you don’t, you’re going to be running more than 3.1 miles. You have to run under control at the start because we all had a lot of nerves at the start, and it’s downhill, too. You have to be very mindful the whole race and make sure you’re on your tiptoes and your head is in the game.”