The JHS student-athlete has decided that she is going to continue on with her athletic career by running at the next level as a Florida Gator.
“I went on a lot of visits, and when I was at the University of Florida I just loved the coaches,” said Caroline. “I just loved the area, and I felt like I could really thrive academically and athletically there.”
Caroline’s interest in sports began at an early age when she began swimming for the Coast Guard Blue Dolphins. In eighth grade, she suffered a shoulder injury but that didn’t stop her from wanting to compete and be active in athletic competitions. So, she decided to join JHS Cross Country Coach Mark Tompkins’ running club called Great Williamsburg Distance Running Club.
“I really ended up liking it and I was highly considering joining cross country as a freshman, and then I did. I just ended up loving it,” said Caroline. “I was doing it to stay in shape for Swim, but I fell in love with the sport. Then, in Junior year, I decided to go all-in for running.”
Caroline found her passion in running. She has competed together with her JHS teammates on the school’s Cross County team and the Outdoor Track team. The runner recalls her experience as a JHS student-athlete as the best four years of her life.
The cross country competitor said that winning regionals with her teammates during her sophomore, junior, and senior years are team moments that will stick with her forever.
“She’s an amazing athlete who has fun,” said Coach Tompkins. “She’s creating little traditions that haven’t been on the team before. She’s a natural leader just by her work ethic.”
The future Gator also accomplished a personal goal this year when she went to compete in Huntsville, Alabama to run one last race with the cross country team. Caroline traveled there with a personal goal to finish with a sub-17-minute time. She finished the race with 16:54 marked on the clock.
“I just remember that I really wanted to break that 17-minute barrier and I talked to Coach on the phone the day before, and we just had a plan, and we were ready,” said Caroline. “It was the whole atmosphere, and I was racing against a lot of my friends. I just remember finishing the race and I saw the time on the clock. It was a very emotional last race but it was really exciting for me.”
As she prepares a new season, with a new team, she feels confident that the seniors have successfully passed the torch onto the next JHS team.
“We have a young team right now, but I feel very confident that I’m leaving the team in good hands. We have a couple of Juniors that are super sweet girls and that are already team leaders with me,” said Caroline. “So I feel like I’m passing the torch, but it’s going to be even better. I’m a little sad that I won’t be there but I’m definitely going to come back, and watch and cheer on my sister and all my other teammates when I come back.”
Caroline plans on participating in UF’s pre-physical therapy program and is looking forward to running with her new team.