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Conestoga runner Grace Lanouette is Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week

Grace Lanouette

The Conestoga junior had a standout performance at the Pennsylvania PTFCA Indoor State Championships, finishing seventh overall in the 60-meter run (7.73) and 15th overall in the 200-meter run (25.57). In January, she broke the Conestoga girls 55 meter indoor dash school record (set in 2007) with a time of 7.30 at Ursinus College, which ranked her in the top 10 in the state. Off the track, she participates in Ethics Bowl, Model UN, and Science Olympiad at Conestoga.

Q: What do you think was the key to your performance at indoor States?

A: I think the key to my performance at States was the mindset I had going into the meet. I went in with the goal of medaling in the 60 and running a PR in the 200, and the entire morning I was even more focused than I am before other meets. I also got a lot of sleep the night before and ate the right foods at breakfast, which I don’t always do when I have meets after school.

Q: What is your most vivid memory of your 60-meter run at States?

A: My most vivid memory of the race at states is the near false start. Our race had to be started twice, because on the first start one of the runners raised her hand while we were in set position, which indicated to the starters that she believed she was going to false start. There was a lot of noise at the other end of the track due to a shot putter throwing for the state record, so the runner in lane eight couldn’t hear the starter’s commands. Raising your hand to stop a start is allowed, so the officials shot the false start gun, but nobody was disqualified. When they shot the gun though, we all thought somebody false started, and since my coach had been telling me before the race that I sometimes moved in the set position, which can be called as a false start, I was terrified that I was the one who false started.

Q: In January, at Ursinus College, you broke the girls’ 55-meter indoor dash school record set by Whitney Winters in 2007. Tell us a little about that race – did you have you an inkling that it was a record-setting run when you crossed the finish line?

A: I honestly didn’t expect the Ursinus race to be a school record setting race. Crossing the finish line, I knew my start wasn’t as good as it could have been. Additionally, since I had run very close to the record in the meet before, and I didn’t feel like I ran faster than I did at that meet, I didn’t think that race was going to break the record. It was a great feeling to see the results sheet and learn that I broke the record, though.

Q: Does your running strategy change at all, running indoors versus running outdoors?

A: I don’t think my running strategy changes drastically between indoors and outdoors. Really the only difference in my mind is the fact that some indoor tracks are banked, which changes strategy a little bit since I know in the back of my mind that I need to take the second curve as fast as possible to build up momentum. Other than that, my strategy is exactly the same: get into the right mindset and come out hard on the start, no matter what the race.

Q: Briefly describe for us your pre-race preparation (physical, mental) on the day of a race.

A: I have a warm-up that I do before every race, which is the same warm-up my team does at practice. I start with a light jog for a few minutes before going into static stretches, fast drills, leg swings, and striders. Mentally, I try to isolate myself from the team about 30 minutes to an hour before warm-up to get into the right head space. I’ll usually listen to music and try to visualize how my race will go. The last thing I do before every race is change into my lucky socks, which I always wear when I race.

Q: Tell us a little about your running shoes, the type of shoe you favor and why.

A: My favorite brand of running shoe is Saucony, because I have flat feet and their shoes provide really good support. I prefer shoes with thick bottoms, to cushion the impact of my steps, but also that are as light as possible.

Q: What has been the most important thing you have learned on the track this year?

A: The most important thing I have learned this year is the importance of a team, even in an individual sport like track.

Q: What’s your favorite local running venue and why?

A: My favorite local running venue is the track at West Chester Henderson High School. I may be a little biased, because that’s the track where I ran my PR in the 100 meter dash in freshman year, but the track is really nice and there is a lot of space for teams to set up and athletes to warm up.

Q: What aspect of your running are you working on most recently?

A: Most recently, I am working on my sprint endurance. I am running the 400 meter run for the first time this year to build up my stamina so I can improve my finish in the 200.

Q: You did not participate in Penn Relays last year, because you injured your foot at the end of the winter season and missed the entire spring. You did run in the Penn Relays as a freshman though – can you share with us your most vivid memory of the Penn Relays?

A: My most vivid memory is stepping onto the track and seeing my teammate who I would be handing off to just across the first curve. It really brought the meet into perspective and reminded me that all I had to do was run like I had been running all season.

Q: You would like to run for a college program. What college(s) are among your current favorites? What do you think you might like to major in at college? Is there a career field that particularly interests you at the present time?

A: Some of my favorite colleges are Princeton, UPenn, Duke, and Dartmouth. In college, I think I would like to major in either biology or political science. I am interested in a career in either medicine or law.

Fun facts – Grace Lanouette
Favorite book: Dune by, Frank Herbert. 
Favorite author: Chimamanda Adichie. 
Favorite TV show: The Office. 
Favorite athlete: Simone Biles. 
Favorite color: Blue. 
Person I most admire: “My mom, because she is the most hard-working, resourceful and resilient person I know.” 
Family members: parents Brian and Ruth, younger brother Noah, younger sister Ruth.
(To be selected as Main Line Girls Athlete of the Week, a student-athlete must first be nominated by her coach.) 

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