Cross-country star Abigail Touhey is off to a speedy start this fall. Abigail, 15, from Florence, Mass., displays exemplary mental toughness which has helped make her the fastest runner on the team.
Abigail started running competitively at the age of eight and started her cross-country career at Williston in 7th grade. She said her speed is a result of her dedication to the sport, but stresses the importance of the mental component as well.
Abigail told The Willistonian, “I have no negative thoughts and tell myself to keep going, you’re almost there you got this.”
She had a fast start to the 2019 season by finishing first out of 31 runners with a time of 21:48 in the Kent Race on September 9. Abigail looks forward to this season with new goals to chase.
“I’d like to get top 10 for NEPSACs and I’d like to break 20 minutes,” she said.
The Willistonian spoke with the team’s head coach, Greg Tuleja, who has been coaching the sport for the past 37 years.
“Although Abigail is only a sophomore,” he said, “she is rapidly rising in the ranks of the best runners that have ever competed on the girl’s cross country team at Williston.”
With a time of 21:24, Abigail stands as number one on the honor roll on the new Williston cross-country course established in September 2017. Passion and training consistently play a vital role in her success as a runner.
“I legitimately like running and care about the sport, so I put a lot of effort into the training,” said Abigail. “I train five days a week over the summer, I do long runs and a couple of tempo runs.”
A tempo run is a type of speed workout to find a pace that you can maintain for about 60 minutes to further build up the body’s ability to run faster for longer period of time, according to The Run Experience.
Assistant coach Martha McCullagh spoke to the athleticism Abigail brings day in and day out.
“She works at it, she’s got the competitive spirit, and she’s really dedicated to her sport,” said McCullagh.
Anna Richardson ’21, a junior captain of the team who has been running with Abigail since 7th grade, spoke to her longtime friend’s commitment to the sport.
“She’s a really hard worker, not just with the girls on the other team, but also with herself,” said Anna. “She’s always trying to improve her time and that just makes her a good athlete.”
Senior Captain Chloe Prouty summed up Abigail’s talent in one phrase: “Long Legs and Big Lungs.”