Rachel Fleck Story

Audra Strealy

While some people might say their sport is football or basketball, Rachel Fleck, a 9th grader at Lakeridge High school, is a long distance runner who competes in track and cross country meets. 


Fleck has been running for many years and while some might say that running is their favorite part, she disagrees. Fleck says, “probably the community” is her favorite aspect of the sport. Some people hate the idea of running, as it seems exhausting and tiring but not for Fleck.


Track and field is another sport Fleck is involved with and she has also been doing this sport for a while. Cross country occurs during the fall, while track and field occurs during the spring. 


Both sports involve hard work, and Fleck reflects on her favorite part. “There are different events”, Fleck said and that means you have options, you don’t just have to run. Even though there are dozens of different events, she continues to stick with distance running. 


Injuries can also come about when doing these difficult sports. “I once hurt my knee while doing a 12 miler during cross country camp and I had to use a brace for months,” Fleck said. 


Fleck pushes herself to the limits when racing and she’s even pushed herself so hard when, “I almost vomited and tasted blood.” Regardless, she is a huge competitor and was on the varsity team during the 2021 cross country season.


While cross country and track may seem the same, they can be completely different on a vigorous scale and how hard you work. Fleck shared her thoughts and she said that track was more difficult due to it being more fast paced whereas cross country was at a slower pace. 


Track and field may be harder, but it does have a range in events unlike cross country. As of right now in track, Fleck does distance but also does pole vaulting. She thought about another event she would be willing to try. Fleck says, “sprints” would be her second option.


 Doing these sports she has surely made some exciting memories and her favorite moment to reflect on is, “when I first pole vaulted over a bar for my first time” Fleck said. 


She cannot say the same for cross county though, as it’s only event is running. “I think my favorite memory from cross country is when I came in fourth for an invitational after an injury,” Fleck said.


Fleck states that from running, both sides in your mentality and physicality come out when racing. Following that, when running is more mentally or physically difficult, she said, “Probably mentally I want to quit so bad sometimes.”


Both sports prove to be a struggle but when asked which one she prefers, Fleck says, “I like cross country more because the teamwork is a lot better and it’s just more fun in general. We travel all over the place, the communities tighter, and you can race with your friends,” Fleck said. “It’s a less competitive environment but also at the same time more competitive.”


Fleck’s determination and teamwork will get her far into the future and without a doubt, she can be successful. Because for Fleck, real athletes run while others just play their own games.