12/23/07 — News-Argus Cross Country Female Runner of Year: Caroline Schlaeppi (C.B. Aycock)

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News-Argus Cross Country Female Runner of Year: Caroline Schlaeppi (C.B. Aycock)

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on December 23, 2007 2:02 AM

Charles B. Aycock sophomore Caroline Schlaeppi isn't shy about why she runs cross country -- she can't get enough of the thrill that comes from winning.

That drive has earned Schlaeppi the 2007 News-Argus female runner of the year award for the second consecutive season.

"I just like to win," Schlaeppi said. "As a freshman I got runner of the year and now this year, too. It's kind of a goal to finish out high school as Runner of the Year."

Winning is about all Schlaeppi's done since arriving at Aycock. She's captured the Eastern Carolina 3-A Conference and the Wayne County meet crowns in both her freshman and sophomore seasons.

A large part of Schlaeppi's success can be attributed to her ability to close out races in a fashion many runners struggle to do. A commitment toward running the final leg of a race just as hard as any other stretch has caught the attention of many of her competitors as well as teammate and friend Nik Fredrick.

"She's got one of the best kicks that you'll see in not just girls but in anybody," Fredrick said. "When you tell her there's a girl coming up right behind her she'll go and it's great to watch."

Success hasn't come without a price tag for Schlaeppi. That price tag has included a commitment to a diet many teenagers would be quick to shy away from, training sessions on chilly winter days and sacrificing time with friends and family all in hopes of improving herself.

"It's hard to not just want to go home and sit on the couch," Schlaeppi said. "You want to be the best, but (if you don't go run) you're just thinking well somebody else is getting faster."

Through just two years of varsity experience Schlaeppi has gained a greater appreciation for what it means to be a teammate and the work that it takes to succeed as a unit. While typically being the first female runner for Aycock to cross the finish line, she's also the first to become a cheerleader.

"Usually when I finish, me and the other girls will start walking back and we'll see our teammates still going on the trail," said Schlaeppi. "We just like to cheer for them and kind of tell them they're almost done, or go back and run with them even during practice."

With two years remaining to carve out her legacy at Aycock, Schlaeppi has quickly developed into one of the area's top female runners. That type of notoriety is what gets her off the couch and running toward bigger things.

"I just was fast in middle school and I just decided to run cross country," Schlaeppi said. "I happened to be successful at it. It makes me feel so good about what I've accomplished."