Sarah May runs the XC world


Photo courtesy of Abby Moriarty

Sarah May strides out ahead to pass her competition during the last 400 meters of the varsity race.

Junior Sarah May began running in middle school but did not give the activity much weight before joining cross country at York. Now, after running for a high school team for three years, and on the eve of the West Suburban Conference meet, she reflects on the difference between her middle school, Bryan, and York’s cross country athletics.

“I didn’t take it seriously then,” said Sarah. “But now the meets are so much bigger and the workouts are a lot harder. There’s also a way bigger team at York, too.”

Cross country at York attracts many athletes and is very much a tradition, as the school lays claim to many state titles and overall triumphs. However, for Sarah, following a lineage of runners isn’t new, as much of her family has run for college universities.

“Both of my parents ran at North Park University,” said May. “Both of my brothers are running at Bradley right now.”

Similar to much of her family, Sarah hopes to run in college as well, although she hasn’t yet decided where she wants to go and doesn’t plan on making it into a career.

“It’s been so cool to watch her get so much better,” says longtime friend Sarah Pinkowski. “She’s always been so humble about her success.”

As for the transition into much more serious high school athletics, Sarah May says “It’s mostly fun, but it was hard getting used to. I was doing soccer during the same season then, so it was hard to do both.”

As for soccer, Sarah still plays, but now does it during the off season. Playing both sports also presented difficulty, as an injury could prevent her from participating in both sports.

Looking back on the season, Sarah is happy with her progress, and looking forward to making more.

“The season started off strong but slow because of the heat,” said May. “But it’s going great right now.”  

Last year, when she went to state, Sarah ran a personal record, or PR, of 17:17. Previously that season, she had been running 17:50 for three miles in races, and this season has been going even better than that, with her time at the Wheaton North Invitational being recorded as a 17:46.

Sarah attributes her success to the work put in outside of races.

“You know you have the training from workouts before you race, but I always need a positive focus to get through it” May said. “It’s definitely a mental sport.”

As for her goals, Sarah aims to shoot for a sub-17 minute three miles at some point– whether it be next year or in college.

“I’m really competitive from my experience with soccer,” said May. “I know it’s a big goal but I think I can do it. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season.”