Coatesville senior Brooke Hutton, the 2017 Daily Local News Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year, capped her sterling four-year Red Raider run by winning the Ches-Mont League Championships, crossing the finish line 47 seconds ahead of the runner-up, then followed it up by placing eighth at states.
As a freshman, Hutton finished ninth at states and was 19th the following season. She was injured last year and did not compete in the postseason, but rebounded nicely this fall.
“The weather was perfect at states this year,” said Hutton. “I felt strong and ready to run a great race. The course at Hershey is extremely hilly, and my greatest memory of the race was the last hill, right before the finish line. The key to my performance was keeping my strength through the race and picking girls off as I got closer to the finish.”
Hutton didn’t have to pick off any runners at the Ches-Mont Championships, where she clocked 19:03 to finish first on the Unionville High School course.
“The key to my race at the Ches-Mont Championships was pacing myself through the race,” said Hutton. “I wanted to go out and lead from the beginning of the race, and I had to pace myself to make sure that I was strong in the latter part of the race.”
Hutton said her best race of the 2017 season was her final one, the Foot Locker Regional meet, where she placed 25th and finished strong.
“At the mile mark I was in about 55th place, but during the last two miles, I picked off as many girls as I could, and I ended up earning a medal,” said Hutton. “The most important thing I have learned on the cross country course this season is to stick to my race strategy no matter how a race plays out. Although it can be difficult to let other girls lead the race, I know that if I listen to my coach then I will be happy with my results in the end.”
On the day of a race, Hutton typically wakes up about four hours before she runs.
“Once I arrive at the meet — about 2 1/2 hours before the race — I walk the course,” said Hutton. “While I am walking through the course I imagine how I will run each part of my race. I look at the ground to see where it is uneven so I can avoid it during the race, and I figure out where I should push more during the race. I start my warmup about an hour before the race, where I think about my race strategy. Once I do all of that, I know that I am ready to have a great race.
“Recently I have been working on my form. My arms tend to cross over my chest and my shoulders become tense as my race goes on. During practice I try to focus on keeping my arms forward and my upper body relaxed.”
Next fall, Hutton will be attending Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, studying in its physical therapy program.
“I became passionate about physical therapy and helping people after getting treatment from a local physical therapist,” said Hutton. “This past summer I shadowed the same physical therapist that has helped me over the years and it solidified my belief that becoming a physical therapist is what I want to do with my life. I can’t wait for the fall, where I will see what I can accomplish in not only school, but also in cross country and track.”
Off the track, Hutton belongs to the Spanish Club at Coatesville and was part of its orchestra for many years. Outside of Coatesville, she helps train children for a local 5K race, which she said, “has confirmed my belief that I would like to be a cross country coach when I am out of college.”
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