Westfall’s Shipley returning to familiar surroundings

The cross-country course at Fortress Obetz could be considered a second home for Caitlyn Shipley.

That’s because the Westfall junior will be making her third consecutive appearance on Saturday in the state meet.

Shipley qualified by turning in a time of 19:57.19 last Saturday to finish 17th in the 162-runner field at a Division II regional championship held on the campus of Pickerington North High School.

Her regional time was over a minute better than when she ran as a sophomore (21:03.02) in the Division III race.

The Westfall junior will look to improve her time of 20:15.0 that she turned in last season at the state championships to finish 71st.

The Division II race is slated to begin at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday.

Question: Discuss your strategy coming into the regional race?

Answer: It is extremely important to get out fast in this race and settle in with a fast pack. The runners are competitive, and it is a large field so opportunities to come from behind are limited.  The strategy was to start fast, maintain a healthy pack of runners who averaged faster times than me all year, then pick my spots with bursts to remain close to that pack.

Question: How does it feel to qualify again for the state meet?

Answer: Amazing.  I’m proud to represent a great Westfall community, district, and team.  There is also an extra sense of accomplishment since the Westfall girls team moved up a division this season from Division III to Division II.

Westfall junior Caitlyn Shipley is slated to make her third consecutive appearance in the state championships on Saturday at Fortress Obetz.

Question: How do you feel like you have improved between your appearance in the state meet last year and when you will return to Fortress Obetz this weekend?

Answer:  Last year was a battle fighting a knee injury most of the season, so getting healthy enough to make State was the main goal.  This year is going to be an exciting challenge due to the increase in talent at Division II, one that I’m looking forward to.

Question: What does your training regimen look like during the offseason and then during the season to be a state quality runner?

Answer:  The training is a lot more natural than most would think with the various opportunities to stay competitive in a variety of running sports.  Winter provides an opportunity to hit the indoor short track, then we move straight into track season which provides very competitive opportunities to work on speed at shorter distances.  Lastly, summer is just a ton of fun to get out and log miles with the team and my brothers before the coaching staff narrows down our in season cross country focus.  

Question: Discuss how you keep motivated when you are pushing the edges of your endurance with your training.

Answer: During more challenging workouts, I’m lucky to have a fantastic team to keep me motivated and focused anytime I feel like giving up.  

Question: Talk about competing against some of the top runners in the Scioto Valley Conference or inside Pickaway County, and how they push you?

Answer: Nearly each race we compete at there is State level competition, and you don’t have to go far to find it.  It’s amazing to have three teams from the SVC with female qualifiers and 2 schools in Pickaway County.  Becoming friends with and competing against (Zane Trace’s) Marie Souther has been a blessing.  I’m so proud of how far she’s gotten and the bar she has set.  

Westfall’s Caitlyn Shipley discussed the friendship she has with Zane Trace’s Marie Souther, a rival Scioto Valley Conference runner.

Question: What do you enjoy about cross country?

Answer: The team is a blast and I love how cross country has become my second family.  We have a ton of fun at all times, and you should hear the interesting music choices from our boys’ team on the bus.  I have also really enjoyed becoming friends with Anay Sierra, who had a great season advancing into Regionals, as well.  

Question: What are your expectations for the state meet?

Answer: First, I just wanted to thank my family for always being there for me and for being extremely supportive and yet continuing to challenge and prepare me.  With God, a strong family, and support from my team and community, States will be great no matter what.  The goal for the state meet is to improve my place and time from last year, allowing focus and effort will drive results. 

Westfall’s Caitlyn Shipley poses for a photo with her medal last week after qualifying for the Division II state championships.

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