Tucker driven to be her best as a runner

It was back in September that Sophia Tucker stepped onto a cross-country course at the college level for the first time in her life.

Only a freshman at the Merchant Marine Academy, the former Navarre standout was nervous.

“It was a little intimidating,” Tucker said. “I felt like I was back in high school for the first time again.”

She finished 15th that day, completing the 5K race in a time of 22:37.90. Not bad for a first time out.

As the season rolled on, Tucker continued to make strides, learning a valuable lesson along the way.

“I got better at realizing you aren’t always going to be first,” Tucker said. “It’s a humbling experience to be put into that situation where you are up against more competitive runners.”

Tucker, although she never finished first in a race this year, learned to adapt to the challenges of competing in cross-country in college, taking herself to another level at the end of the year.

At the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championship Meet in November, Tucker set a school record for the best time at a conference meet, crossing the finish line in a time of 25:55.9. She placed 15th overall, good enough to earn her all-conference honors.

Tucker went on to compete in the NCAA Division III regional the following week and clocked in with a time of 24:03.9, placing 154th overall at a meet that featured 43 teams and more than 300 runners.

Read the full article in the Feb. 23 issue of Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 per year.

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