CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The girls District 29-5A cross country district championship is coming up Friday at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
A recent move-in student from Virginia from Carroll High School could steal the show.
"I do not think I have ever encountered anyone quite as special as this young lady is," said Carroll cross country coach Tracie Jensen, who has been coaching the sport there for nearly 20 years.
She’s referring to one of her newest runners Charlotte Denardo, who recently moved into the school.
A good basketball player who decided to take up cross country to help her conditioning, Denardo quickly fell in love with running. She has excelled at a rapid pace in which no one expected she would win three of her first four races.
Her motivation comes easily, she said.
"The finish line, my dad likes to say just smell the barn like a cow smelling the barn,” Denardo said. “You know you're home and you gotta go and kick it and tell yourself you're almost done running."
A cross country run is a 5 kilometers or 3.1 miles. Her best time so far is a 19:40, providing her with plenty of time to think.
So what goes through her mind as she attempts to navigate her way to another win?
“Mostly, I just have to keep going because it's really hard when you are under so much pressure,” she said. “You know the coaches are counting on, not letting down my team and doing it for them and not myself. Doing it for the glory of God."
That attitude has helped unify the Carroll team, according to Jensen.
“She has brought our team together and has an amazing attitude,” Jensen said. “Her faith is incredible."
It certainly takes a lot to be a great cross country runner. And for Charlotte, she appears to be on her way to developing into the complete package.