Is the Flash back?

Post date: Oct 31, 2015 2:33:12 AM

By Mark Blackmon

On September 21st, I sat down with Taylor Cuneo and Jordan Shirley to interview them about their running lives. At the time of the interview, the Cross Country team had just competed in the Trinity/Valkyrie Race at Louisville, Kentucky. Jordan lead the way for the guys with a time of 17:21, setting a new personal record. Paving the way for the girls, Taylor hit the course with a time of 17:42.

The team travels to the Jesse Owens Invitational in Alabama on October 3rd. Both runners hope to shave a few seconds of their time. “I’m going to try to break Andre Hillsman’s sophomore record and run a 16:24 or faster,” Jordan said. Taylor is hoping to improve on her “fast time”.

Both Jordan and Taylor said that they joined the team to stay in shape and be more involved in the athletic programs. Little did they know at the time that they would be two of the fastest runners in the state.

What's it like to be a young leader on the team?

JS: “Last year is when I realized I should step up as a leader and this year it's really included getting to know the whole team, freshmen especially.”

TC: “Jordan said it perfectly. It’s really just about being a team outside of the course.”

What's your pre-race ritual?

JS: “I never really had one, but now it generally consists of a light jog with some speed work.

TC: “I like to take the girls out to the line about 20 minutes before the race and we will get a jog in with some dynamic stretching. Then we pray.”

How does your personal record affect you as a runner?

JS: “When I set a new PR, it shows me where I am and where I could be. I like to think of it as a milestone of being faster.”

TS: “It encourages me to try harder and setting a good example for my teammates.”

When I asked them what the future had in store for running, I was surprised to hear they hadn’t looked ahead that far. Jordan has typically used Andre Hillsman as a measure for himself. “I like to hit his times because he was obviously one of the greats here at Central,” Jordan mentioned. Taylor is looking for a chance at a National Championship.

How is running an "individual-team" sport?

TC: “We all work hard. We are always building each other up, and even though it is an individual sport, you know your teammates will always be there picking you up when you’re down."

JS: “During a race you may not see a whole lot of your team, but you know that they’re out there on the course.” Jordan said, “It makes me run faster because I know that I reflect my hard work and my teams.”

What's going through your heads when you're on a course?

JS: “When I run I like to think of it as no thoughts run through my head. I like to just clear my head and focus on the fact that I’m running."

TC: “Hard work and perseverance are what run through my head. I focus on all the work I’ve put in leading up to this race.”

These two runners have put in plenty of hard work to get to where they are today. There aren’t many people who can say they have the times Taylor and Jordan have set. As they continues in their running careers, Taylor and Jordan hope to push the limits others have set before them...

...And to finish off the interview, Taylor said, “Have a nice day!”