Throughout the 2017-18 high school sports season, we will name a weekly Sentinel Athlete of the Week every Monday night highlighting the on-field performances of some of the area’s best high school competitors.
This week’s athlete is Northern cross country runner Marlee Starliper. The sophomore ran a 16:50 to win the 25th Annual Carlisle Invitational girls challenge race, which was 27 seconds faster than any girls time run at Carlisle. The previous mark was 17:17 set in 1981. It was also the fastest time in the country this season, according to PennTrack USA.
Q: You ran a very impressive time on Saturday at the Carlisle Invitational. How much sleep did you get afterwards and how sore were you?
A: After the race I had to rush home to get ready with our girls cross country team for our homecoming dance. Our team goes together every year and, afterward, we go over to one of our houses to watch movies, and I miraculously stayed up until3 a.m. (I have no idea how I didn’t fall asleep hours earlier). Thankfully I got to sleep in the next day and only woke up at around 11 a.m.! During this season I haven’t gotten sore very often, but between the race and also from dancing all night, I was sore the next morning. Compared to soreness which I have experienced other times before, thankfully my legs didn’t feel as bad as I expected.
Q: Did you think that your run times would be as impressive as they are this season?
A: Going into the season I knew that I was a completely different runner compared to who I was in last year’s XC season, so one of my goals was to try to win the Carlisle Invitational, which I knew would take a fast time, but never had I imagined breaking 17 minutes. It was such a surprising experience, and it makes me further appreciate how amazing running can be as a sport.
Q: Is there a PR you’re still looking to achieve?
A: I am extremely thankful for my current PR and am not expecting to break it this season because I am more focused on doing my best to win races. However, I hope that whenever I get another opportunity to run on a fast course with great competition, that I can see more improvement with my time because I believe that as I continue to learn and train I will be capable of improving my performances. I don’t believe that that will happen this season because of the nature of the courses.
Q: What do you think helps you be as successful as you have been?
A: My love and passion for this sport gives me so much determination to reach my full potential as an athlete. I have learned so much about myself from the journey which running has taken me on, and I want to continue to discover what I can accomplish. I truly want to find out if I have limits to what I can do in this sport. Another huge contribution to my success comes from all the people in my life, including family, friends and the school and community, who give me so much support. I always want to do my best for them to show them how thankful I am.
Q: What’s your biggest dream, in running or life in general?
A: As of now, I don’t know exactly what I dream of doing in the future. All my life I have wanted to be a musician because I have always loved playing the guitar, but now running has also become such an important part of my life and I have thought about what opportunities it could give me. So I would say that my dream is to someday have a career in which I can incorporate all of my passions, including traveling. It is also very important to me to be a positive impact on the people around me, and I want to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives in whatever way God intends me to.
Q: Do you want to do anything with cross country in the future after your adventures in school are over?
A: I definitely want to run cross country in college. After that, I don’t know what situation I will be in with running, but I could imagine myself being a professional athlete someday if I continue to improve in the years to come.
Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of cross country?
A: I love spending time in nature doing things like hiking and kayaking, playing guitar, reading, writing and traveling. And of course I also love spending time with my family and friends!
Q: If you could have any job in the world, what would it be and why?
A: I would love to have a job where I feel as if I have never worked a day in my life — one that I am very passionate about. A job that I continuously think about is having my own business so that I could be creative with my work, if that someday means coaching, producing music or even doing something such as having my own coffee shop that serves nutritious food and plays live music.
Q: Who inspires you the most in life?
A: My parents are my biggest inspirations. Even when I haven’t believed in myself, they believe in me so strongly and provide me with a ton of support. They push me to dream bigger, and I am so thankful to have such great role models in my life to help guide me and make me into a better person. I don’t know where I would be today if not for them.
Q: Is there any quote or saying that you live by?
A: “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” ~ Steve Prefontaine
“Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.” ~ Phillipians 4:13 The Message