There was a day midway through her freshman season running cross country at United High School that Allison Parks will never forget.
It was the day she finally caught up to her sister Sierra.
“It was a crazy day for me,” Parks said. “She was always amazing and fantastic and I finally caught up to her. It was a life changing thing for me — I figured out how to run.”
Parks has been running past her competition ever since. In a sport she calls 90 percent mental and 10 percent endurance, Parks said she’s developed mental toughness over the years.
This season wound up being slightly different for Parks, though. As a runner, she was used to grading herself off how she finished against her competition. As a senior, and the favorite to win many of the meets she entered, it was all about the inner motivation for Parks.
“There was a lot of really good girls out there, but it was a lot of my own goals I was setting,” she said.
It all culminated at the Division III state cross country meet in November when she took 12th place out of 142 girls. It was one spot better than her 13th place finish as a junior.
Parks will continue to push herself next fall at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. She said it was a decision she constantly battled with and would “fall in love with it and then fall out of love with it.”
“I came to the conclusion that that is just the best option,” Parks said. “It has everything and it’s just an amazing opportunity.”
Her sister went to school there as well, so she’s been able to prepare herself for what to expect. At least as much as she can.
“I can’t wait,” Parks said. “I love everything the military stands for and love what you get out of it.”