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Ava Aguiar '23 competes with best runners in the state

Ava Aguiar '23 competes with best runners in the state

Olympians. Passion. Comradery.

And, hey, free running gear.

For Wilbraham & Monson Academy’s Ava Aguiar ’23, there’s no better way to spend a summer night.

In the presence of some of the most well-known names in the sport of running, Ava toed the starting line with the top runners in Massachusetts at the Tommy Cochary High School Mile in Falmouth, Massachusetts, Aug. 14.

Ava and the other competitors were treated like pros, provided with new running shoes, a singlet, shorts and a racing bib with their name on it.

The event took place before the Falmouth Elite Mile, which drew some of the top milers in North America, including Craig Engels, who competed in the Olympic Trials in 2016 and 2021.

Quotes from Ava

Ava on why she wanted to participate in the event: “I wanted to participate in the Tommy Cochary High School Mile because it was an amazing opportunity. You get to meet so many cool people and everyone shares the same passion and love for running, which is really fun. Not to mention it was also special because one of the main themes is making smart choices and I think, especially at the high school age, that's a really important message to spread.”

Ava on her experience: “Overall, my experience was great and I had a blast. I loved meeting all the other runners in the race, talking about everyone’s backgrounds and meeting the people that make the race so special every year. It’s really fun to be around people who have the same drive and motivation as you and to hear their stories. It was also really fun being one of the runners because you got some really cool gear.”

Ava regarding her favorite part of the event: “I would definitely say the highlight of my experience was meeting Craig Engels and Molly Seidel. I’ve looked up to them for a while and seeing them was super cool and unexpected. Someone took us into another room and Molly came in and did a Q&A and we got to hold her (bronze) medal she had just won at this year’s Olympic Games (in the marathon), and take a picture with her. When they took us out onto the track to start getting warmed up that's when I saw Craig. I won’t lie, I was definitely fangirling. I was like, ‘No way he’s talking to me right now.’ It was surreal. They're both so nice, and I hope to see them again.”

Ava regarding her running goals this season for WMA: “I definitely do have some running goals for the upcoming WMA seasons, and I’m really excited to be back with everyone. First and foremost, my goal would be for our team to do really well and win a team championship. For me personally, the big one in Cross Country this year is to break a 19 (minutes) in the 5k, and for the track seasons I want to break 5 (minutes) for the 1,500, sub-2:30 for the 800 and break 11 for the 3,000.”