BY DENNIS SILVA II | DENSILVA2@GMAIL.COM
Jordan High freshman Addison Sutton was nervous going into her first varsity cross country meet Saturday morning. Scared, even.
And still, Sutton came away victorious at the Pearland Dawson Early Bird meet.
Sutton ran a time of 12-minutes, 39-seconds to win the two-mile race and help the Warriors to a first-place team finish in the program’s first varsity competition. The Warriors, a Class 5A program, scored 27 points, followed by Clear Creek (40), Ridge Point (64) and North Shore (102).
“I was scared, but I was thinking really positive thoughts,” Sutton said. “I knew whatever I put into my head, that’s how I would do during the race. If I had a positive mindset, I knew I’d have a positive outcome. I know my body will do what my mind believes, so if I believe I can do it, I know I can push through.”
Jordan girls cross country coach Kimberlee Trnka said she had no doubt Sutton was going to win. Sutton, however, was not quite as certain.
“I was surprised with how I did,” Sutton said. “I knew coming into this that we would be competitive and probably place. But I did surprise myself. It shows me that I can do what I put my mind to, and I can even improve being faster at the beginning and speeding up to cut off a couple seconds. I’ll have more confidence going forward and not be as nervous as well. Now going forward, I’ll know what a typical meet looks like.”
Along with Sutton, Jordan placed four other runners in the top 10: Marie Wadlington (3rd, 13:29), Beatriz Laepple (6th, 13:47.5); Isabella Ramos (8th, 13:55.5) and Zahra Bakrin (9th, 13:59.0).
“These girls amaze me every day,” Trnka said. “We have five freshmen and two sophomores on varsity and there is so much potential to get even better. Except for one girl (Wadlington), this was everyone’s first race. It was an eye-opening race and every one of them said, ‘I can do better, I can do better.’ That’s something about this team; they know they can always get better. They’re never satisfied and they’re going to keep working hard.”
Trnka comes to Jordan after 10 years coaching at Mayde Creek. She ran cross country and track at Tarleton State University. Her primary objectives this inaugural season is to instill her competitiveness and set standards for the program.
“I’ve learned they’re completely committed to the program,” said Trnka, whose coaching philosophy centers around the mental aspect of running. “They’ll do whatever it takes to succeed. They want success. They’re excited for the year and they’re excited to set the standard for this new program. I’m privileged and honored that I get to coach them. It’s an awesome opportunity to be able to do something like this.”
Trnka said Sutton, who runs 32-33 miles per week during the offseason and ups that to 37-38 miles per week during weeks leading up to the race, is a remarkable and determined athlete boasting fierce competitiveness.
“We had our first sub-varsity winner the day before, so she wanted to be the first Jordan varsity winner,” Trnka said. “She was just so determined. The last 400 meters, she just started sprinting.”
Sutton said her start could have been better. She eventually built up and was in second place, trailing behind by 50 meters, until the last mile when she made a final push.
“I kept getting closer and closer to the only girl ahead of me, and I wasn’t going to let her beat me by a tiny bit,” Sutton said. “So, with all the energy I had left, I sprinted the last bit.”
Even hours after the race had completed, Sutton said she still had not yet grasped the magnitude of her historic feat.
“I don’t even know if it’s sunk in,” she said. “I was just really excited when I crossed that finish line.”
Sutton competed at Seven Lakes Junior High her seventh grade year, and it was during that track season that she said she became “attached” to running. She transferred to Adams Junior High for eighth grade, when she was recognized as Track Co-MVP for 2020.
She’s looking forward to future races, when nerves won’t be an issue and she will know what to expect from competing at the highest level for a first-year program looking to establish its name.
“It’s different than a normal program where you have girls that have been there for multiple years and have already set the standard,” Sutton said, “so we get a chance to create traditions and set expectations, so the girls after us know what to expect and can follow those standards.”