For five years, freshman Kristin Zarrella basically created her own workout regimen.
She ran whenever she felt like it. She chose how far she wanted to go. And she took breaks when she needed them.
But that all changed the minute she joined the Lakewood Ranch girls cross country team.
“It’s a lot different,” Zarrella said. “I usually didn’t run on certain days — I would just run whenever I felt like it. I feel the training now is a lot better than it used to be.”
Zarrella seems to have handled the transition with ease. On Oct. 10, Zarrella, ranked eighth in the state, won the Manasota Track Club Invitational, posting a new course record of 20:09.
“I wasn’t expecting that good of a time,” Zarrella said. “I was really surprised because I thought it was going to be much slower since it was a slow and long course.
“It was a really good race though,” she said. “I liked the course, so I was really happy to get the course record.”
Zarrella began running when she was 9 years old after her father, Bill, a former track coach, noticed her natural talent. She began training shortly thereafter and she hasn’t stopped since.
Since joining the Lady Mustangs, Zarrella has posted several top-25 finishes, including a 22nd- place finish at the Flrunners.com Race of Champions Invitational Oct. 3 in Titusville, where she set a new school record, crossing the finish line in 18:57.71 a personal best.
With three meets left before the district meet, Zarrella has her sights set on improving her time with the hope of advancing to her first state meet.
“I was kind of nervous coming into the season, but I’m happy with how I’m doing,” Zarrella said. “I’m just want to stay under 19 (minutes), keep lowering my time and help the team make it to states and perform well there.”
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