Maria Shaw is a freshman girls cross country runner at The Out-of-Door Academy. Shaw (21:28.05) finished first out of 41 runners at the 2019 Canes Cross Country Classic on Oct. 9 at Bradenton's G.T. Bray Park.
When did you start running?
When I was in fifth grade. Everyone told me I was fast and would make a good runner. I tried it and it went pretty well. I officially joined the track team in seventh grade and the cross country team in eighth grade. Now I only do cross country because I play lacrosse in the spring.
What is the appeal to you?
I love bonding with the team. Plus, running makes me feel fast. It makes me feel good about myself.
Why do you prefer long-distance running?
I ran the 400-yard dash in track last year, and it felt like if you made one misstep, you were out of the race. You would finish last. In cross country, you can slow down a bit. You can pace yourself. You have more time to pass girls and get where you want to be.
What is your favorite memory?
I don't know if I can pick just one. Meets are super fun. I love being with my teammates and getting into shenanigans with them. My teammates are so funny.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Getting into the right mentality. I get stressed before meets. I need to remember that whatever I can do, whatever my best is, is good enough. I don't need to match someone else's standard. If I do my best, I should be happy.
What are your goals for this season?
I want to match my personal record (19:47.00) by the end of the year, if not pass it. I also want us to make it to states as a team again. I know we have the talent to do it.
What is your favorite food?
Strawberries, but I love fruit in general.
Which superpower would you pick?
Super speed, just so I could get places faster. I have a lot of different stuff going on, it would cut my travel time down a lot.
What hobbies do you have?
I play the piano and the cello. I love watching theater — and acting in it, but sports have taken up most of that time.
What is your favorite subject?
I like science because of the experiments. I like learning how life works.
Finish this sentence: "Maria Shaw is … "
… Intelligent, good at sports and a well-rounded person.