Girls cross country runner of the year: Andrean’s Becca Conley
By John O’Malley Post-Tribune correspondent November 28, 2011 11:10PM
Andrean sophomore Becca Conley approaches the finish line to take third during the girls varsity race at the 43rd Annual Highland Cross Country Invite held at Highland High School in Highland, Ind., Saturday, September 25, 2010. Conley finished with a time of 18:47. Photo by Guy Rhodes for The Post-Tribune. PTSPT
Updated: December 30, 2011 8:18AM
Becca Conley was extremely disappointed she didn’t qualify for the state cross country meet her first two years at Andrean.
There wouldn’t be any heartbreak for Conley this season.
Her past disappointment served as major motivation to realize her goal and make the trip to Terre Haute.
“I told myself: ‘I’m getting to state this year,’ ” Conley said. “That was the difference. I made the decision over the summer that I was going to stop at nothing to get to state.”
Once the 59ers’ star set foot on the Lavern Gibson Championship Course, her belief in herself and trust in the training program coach Rick Torres designed for her last summer gave her the confidence she needed to perform at an elite level.
Conley earned All-State honors by finishing 14th at the state meet (18:47) — a fitting completion to the consistency she demonstrated all fall.
The Post-Tribune’s Cross Country Runner of the Year, won Crown Point Sectional and Regional races and placed sixth at the New Prairie Semistate.
“It’s kind of weird,” she said. “I barely missed making it to state two years, and this year, I made it fairly easily. If I had made it down before, I probably wouldn’t have had much of a goal other than like: ‘Oh, I made it down to state.’
“This year, I had the goal of being in the top 25. It was like a huge surprise to me, because when I finished, I didn’t even know in what place. When I found out, I (thought): ‘Oh my God, that’s crazy that I just did that,’ because I wasn’t expected to do that at all. It was definitely very satisfying and rewarding.”
Torres deserves a lot of credit for making sure she was ready.
“I trained as hard as I possibly could,” Conley said. “I trained like I should have trained, and (the proof) is in the results. This year, I knew I deserved to go to state, because of all the hard work I’d done all summer. I did everything I possibly could.”
Torres said he couldn’t have expected more.
“I think the biggest thing for her was believing in the program and trusting me,” he said. “Not once this year did Becca ever question anything I asked her to do. She was just truly remarkable and a good listener. She really followed the game plan — especially in the postseason — and exercised good patience. She executed everything to perfection. Everything seemed to fall into place.”
The program included low, medium and high intensity levels of training during the summer where Conley would run 40-45 miles the first week, 45-50 the second week and about 70 the last week. After the 21-day cycle, she took the 22nd day off. The following week was cut-back.
In addition to following the plan, Conley took care of her diet and rest.
“Everything Becca does is goal-oriented,” Torres said. “She accepts each challenge and makes sure there’s a goal attached. Then, she goes out and works hard to attain the goals.”
Conley’s running success is only surpassed by her academic prowess.
She ranks third in her class with a 4.4 GPA and has plans to pursue a career in business at Georgetown University.
For now, though, the opportunity to make another trip to state as a senior and possibly finish even higher looms.