Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Road to State: Jessica Xu

Jessica loves the cheesy stuff. From making up songs about going to the Taqueria to blaming teammate Karen Mac for just about everything, it is the lighter side of cross country that is the draw for this outstanding runner.

Known for starting a dance party in the team van it is her lively, energetic demeanor that reminds the team that to keep things in perspective: that this is for fun.

While Jessica enjoys the goofy side of the sport, when she toes the starting line she is all business. This fall Xu has been outstanding from the start opening the first race of the year with a blazing 20:41 at Toro Park. She has carried that momentum through the season running 20:03 for the 5k course at Nike Pre-Nationals and 20:35 at Woodward Park in October. But none was as big as her clutch performance at the CCS Championship.

Running 19:21 for the hilly 2.95 mile Crystal Springs course Jessica came through big for the Warriors finishing 11th place. Her time ranks her 6th fastest in school history.

“I went into the race with the mentality to ‘be the hunter, not the hunted,’" Jessica said of her performance.

She started fast but as she moved through the miles her confidence grew, “Every time I saw a competitor I felt like I could beat her,” Xu said of her CCS performance.

The team side of cross country is a big motivator for Xu who is one of the Warriors most dedicated runners. “The team keeps me up and running.  Being around the team always makes my day. No matter how bad my day was, I always laugh my head off.”

“We can sing for a whole hour.” Xu said reflecting on makes the team so close. “We have so much energy that is contagious. These girls are my closest friends.  We can be crazy at times and we don’t care what anyone else thinks.”

While it is the team aspect that Xu loves she takes training seriously and puts in the hard work. The balance of having fun and being serious during training and races gives Jessica an edge that has helped her become the outstanding runner she is today.

“It takes hard work every day.” Xu said. “I remind myself that God has given me the ability to run and it is my responsibility to not waste it.” (Matt. 25:14-30).

“My teammates push me to be the best I can be. Our team is made up of best friends, and best friends are family forever.”

The Warriors will look to Xu to be a key contributor in the California State Championship at Woodward Park in Fresno.  The race begins at 11:45 am on November 26th.

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