Probably the best way to capture the career of Pennsbury senior Sara Sargent is to point out that she has won at least one state championship in her first three years of high school. Got that? Freshman. Sophomore. Junior. Check them off. In 2009, she won the state AAA cross country title. Later that month, she was 8th in the Northeast at the Foot Locker Regional, and then was 21st in nationals, just 10 seconds out of all-American. As a sophomore, she was diagnosed with mono just two weeks after the state XC championships. She bounced back and captured the PTFCA Indoor 3000 meter title. Oh, we missed the 3200 meter PIAA AAA title as a freshman. Then, as a junior, she was the PIAA AAA 1600 meter champ in a PR of 4:51.04. Throw in some all-states, Millrose Games and US Open Miles, and appearances in the Penn Relays Mile and 3000, and other state medals, and you have an awesome career. And just this past November 3rd, she led her team to their 3rd consecutive AAA State XC Title. Sit back and enjoy her senior campaign.
Entry #4 4/25
Hey Everyone, its been awhile since my last entry,
so please bear with me while I catch you up on what has been a whirlwind of a senior year...
I am so excited to personally share with all of you that I have committed to the University of Virginia. I am extremely happy and confident about my decision. However, getting to that decision was not as easy. I met with coaches from many great programs. I officially visited Villanova, Georgetown and UVa. I also took an unofficial visit to the University of Pennsylvania. I really like every school that I visited. The coaches and the girls were all very nice and welcoming. When it came down to making a decision, I went back and forth on nearly every school I visited. It was extremely hard to narrow down the list. I really wanted to make sure that the school was the right fit for me. Over Christmas break, I woke up one morning and it just clicked. I knew UVa was the school for me. I was so eager to get on the phone with Coach Morgan and tell him “I am coming to Virginia!” Committing to a school was definitely one of the best feelings that involved many different emotions. I am so excited and blessed to be able to attend such an incredible school. What I absolutely love about UVa is that I can confidently say I would go to the University even if I was not running. Between Panorama Farms, the Lawn and the state of the art facilities all around grounds, UVa is a great place to be. To all of my fellow PA runners who are entering the college recruiting process, the best advise I can give you is to listen to your heart and don’t be afraid to ask the ones around you for advice. My family, coaches and friends have had such a positive influence on this entire process. Without them, the college search process would have been so much more difficult.
My first race after taking some time off after Nike Nationals was at Lehigh University. I also ran in some of the DVGTCA meets to get my legs rolling. I then made my way up to New York City to race at the Armory. My first meet there was a Wednesday night qualifying meet for Millrose. I placed third which I was satisfied with considering the maneuvering and weaving I had to deal with throughout most of the race. At this particular meet, the top two automatically qualify for the Millrose Games. I raced at the armory one more time at the New Balance Games. My race here was very similar to the previous race at the Armory. I once again had to deal with finding my way out of the box so I could really let myself go. I ended up placing second. My goal going into this meet was simply to qualify for Millrose. With that being said, I had done my job for the day. I am blessed enough to be competing in such a prestigious race for the third time in my high school running career.
I was also fortunate enough to be invited to the Grand Prix up in Boston earlier in February. The event was held at the Reggie Lewis Center. I had not raced on that track since my freshman year at Indoor Nationals. It was nice to be back. The whole Grand Prix experience was absolutely incredible. I arrived in Boston , went for a quick shake out run with a couple of striders at the end to really get my legs loose. My Dad and I met up with McKenna Kardish who attends Harvard University and was a fellow PA runner in high school. We went out for a delicious Italian dinner in the North Side of Boston.
I woke up Saturday morning feeling very anxious and excited to race. New Balance was kind enough to host a brunch for the high school milers and their pro runners at the Lenox Hotel. Here I was able to meet and talk to one of the professional runners, Genieve LaCaze, who ran for my future college coach Todd Morgan. After a great brunch and relaxing for a bit, it was time to race. I ended up placing sixth with a solid time of 5:02.
My next big race was the Millrose Games. This year was my third time competing in this event. I had one specific and rather simple goal, to make this my best showing of the three. The race went out harder than I was used to. Our first 400 was a 69. I just tried to relax my body and focus in on the girls in the lead. With about 300 meters left, I started to pick up my tempo. Then as I hit the bell lap, I really began to sprint and let my momentum carry me through to the finish. I ended up placing 5th. I was happy with my performance. It was the best I have ever ran at the Millrose Games. After the meet, my family and I continued our tradition of going to Coogans to eat after the races. The restaurant was packed with Olympians such as Matt Centrowitz. Like always, the atmosphere and food was fantastic. It was the perfect way to end a long day at the Armory.
Indoor State Championships:
Every year I look forward to the indoor state meet. This year I ran the mile, the 4x800 and the 4x400. Once we arrived at the hotel, I went for a shake out run followed by some striders. I woke up the morning of the State meet feeling anxious to run. I try my best to use my nerves to my advantage rather than letting them get the best of me. My first race of the day was the mile. I would not be telling the truth if I said I was happy with how I ran. I also would not become a better runner if I didn’t admit to the mistakes I made during the race and how I could have run it differently. The race went out too slow. Instead of focusing on my individual race, I got caught up with staying with the group. Before I knew it, I had lost my chance of making a move to win the race. Afterwards, my legs were not even tired. With this being said, I used my frustration from the mile, and the fact that it was my last high school indoor state meet to motivate me to run my best splits in the relays.
A couple of hours later I came back to anchor my 4 x 800 meter relay team. I started my leg of the race in 6th or 7th place. I knew if I ran what I was capable of running an 800 meter in, then I could definitely move us up. With that said, I split a low 2:12 and crossed the finish line in 2nd place, helping my team to come from behind. Next up was the 4 x 400.
I absolutely love the 4 x 400. It’s always an opportunity for me to develop leg speed and to practice my kick. We were seated in the fast heat with Swenson, Penn Wood and some other incredibly talented relay teams. Uche ran the lead off leg and gave me the baton in the front of the pack. Within the first 100 meters the girls from Penn Wood , Swenson and CB West passed me. I decided to tuck in right behind them until about 150 meters to go. On the back stretch of the track I switched gears and passed all of them, handing the baton to my sister with a clear lead. Giving a baton to a teammate is one thing, but being able to do it with your sister is incredible. Olivia ran fast and maintained striking distance for our anchor, Nini. We ended up finishing third right behind Swenson and Penn Wood. For only running this event a few times this indoor season, we were very excited with the results!
An indoor state meet wouldn’t be the same without a trip to the Creamery. It is always a delicious treat!
Every runner experiences ups and down in their running career. It is the ones that learn from their mistakes that will go on to become great athletes and great human beings.
New Balance Indoor Nationals:
After the state meet, I decided to run the mile at nationals to redeem myself. I was very happy with the results! I placed 4th in the Nation with a time of 4:52. Achieving an All-American status is just something special. It was an incredible feeling that I will never forget. Shout out to my little sister, Liv, for finishing 7th in the nation out of high school Freshman girls for the mile!
The start of my outdoor track season has been going great. I can’t believe it is already time for the prestigious Penn Relays! I will be running the 4x800, the mile, and hopefully the 4x400 on Saturday. Good luck to all the teams competing!
runUSA runPHS runUVA
Journal Entry #3 (November 21, 2012)
I would like to start off by saying congratulations to all the runners on an incredible State XC meet!! The individual and team performances were one of the best I have seen in my four years of high school. There’s just something about the magic of a State Championship. Fortunately, I was blessed to experience a third straight team title, capping off my Pennsbury Cross Country career. For this entry, I would like to give you a play-by-play of my experience at the 2012 state meet.
My team and I left Friday morning after our first class. First thing on the agenda was to get some food in our stomachs. Our coaches usually pick the places where we eat, so this year it was Cracker Barrel.
Once we arrived in Hershey, we made our way to preview the course. First, we bought our meet t-shirts, in order to avoid the long lines on race day. Next, we went on a little warm up jog to shake our legs out after the long ride. After completing our full warmup, the coaches jogged/walked us through the entire course, highlighting places where we should make our moves and cut tangents. But, before we could make our way into Aloha Hills, we had to take a picture in the Falcons Nest (the long straightaway after making the sharp turn off of the bridge). Since our school mascot is a Falcon, it was only right to take a team picture next to the sign!
After previewing the course, we went back to the hotel to relax and get some down time before dinner. Here, the coaches had individual meetings with each of us to see how we were feeling and what our thoughts were for the race. Around four o’clock in the afternoon we left for the Olive Garden. All runners know that carbs, pasta, and protein are great the night before a race! After we finished dinner, I traditionally have ice cream before every race. So, we walked to the Coldstone Creamery where I got a much needed ice cream fix. I changed it up a bit this time and went with the chocolate ice cream. Usually, I have my favorite, mint chocolate chip. After dinner and dessert, we went back to the hotel and had a team meeting. Between Coach Little, Coach Sargent, and Coach Cislak, I truly believe that it is impossible to not be successful. They went over the key strategy points for the race and reminded us that if we truly want to win, then absolutely nothing can get in our way of achieving our goal. Before we knew it, it was time for bed!
We woke up the next morning, and after packing up all of our luggage, we headed downstairs to get a good breakfast. Once we were all finished eating, we loaded up the vans and made our way to the course. We arrived around 8:30 am. From 9 to 10 am, it was our individual time to do whatever we wanted. For me, I relaxed and stretched my legs out. Afterwards, I went for a nice, easy 20 minute run. We all met back at the tent at 10am. Our coaches found a place for us to warmup away from all the spectators and runners so we could really get into our zones. We did our dynamic warmup and agilities as a team. After we were done, we went back to the tent to get our spikes on and say goodbye to our families and friends since the next time we were going to see them would be after the race. At around 10:40 am we worked our way to the starting line. Here, we did one last team cheer and the coaches told us to stay focused and to leave everything on the course. Before we knew it, the gun was fired and off went the race.
Going into the meet, we knew who our biggest competitors were and exactly how they were going to run the race. Lucky for us, they were unaware that hills don’t slow us down. In fact, we use them to our advantage. It was one of the best races we have ever run as a team. We placed four in the top 15 and our fifth runner placed 23rd. When I crossed the finish line, I thought to myself, “Where did the time go”. Our family and friends were waiting for us at the end of the chute and all I could hear was “You did it”!! Many of the senior girls on the team were waiting for us after the race. When I went over to see them they were all crying because a huge, amazing part of our lives was coming to a close. I couldn’t help but begin to cry with them. My time on the Pennsbury Girls Cross Country team has been one that I will never forget. I have met my best friends from this program and I can’t imagine not being a part of it anymore. Even when members of the team graduate, in our minds and hearts, they will always be a part of this program.
So, to cap off an incredible four years, we won the team State Championship for a third year in a row. Three-Peat! What better way to celebrate than with our friends and families after the race. Some might have doubted my team’s ability to win this year, but never count the Pennsbury Girls Cross Country team out. When we want to win, we will do whatever it takes to make it possible.
On to the next race...We are excited to be running the NXN Northeast Region XC meet this weekend at Bowdoin Park in Wappingers Falls, NY.
Good luck to all the runners who are extending their season by either running Footlocker or NXN!
Journal Entry #2 (October 24, 2012)
First off, I would like to apologize for taking so long to write my second journal entry. Between school, running, and official college visits, it has been one fun packed fall!
Going back to September, I started my season at the PIAA Foundation Invitational. I was very satisfied with my performance individually,and also as a team. Because it was so early in the season our expectations were not to pr but to see what we could do. So, it was back to work to prepare for our next race.
The next weekend we raced at the Carlisle Invitational. This year was the first time my team and I raced in this meet. The course was filled with rolling hills and grassy fields. As a team, we performed very well. I was so happy for the girls, and it really motivated us to achieve our goals.
My last race to date was the Manhattan HS Invitational. I look forward to this meet every year! It is my absolute favorite course and race environment. My team and I raced in the Eastern States Championship against some of the best teams in the country like Tatnall, Fayetteville-Manlius and Academy of the Holy Names. All in all, it was the best we have ever performed in that race. I was so happy with my performance individually as well. Since it was my last high school cross country invitational ever, I decided to just go out there and do it. I worked the downs and ups and came out of the back loop in striking distance of the lead. Of course there were a few places where I wished I made a move, but you learn from your mistakes and use them to your advantage. I ended up finishing fourth, I was so happy. It was just a glimpse of how my training is progressing this season.
Unfortunately, I woke up with a fever last Friday morning on the day of the League Championships, so I was unable to run. I missed my teammates, but congrats to them on their victory!
It’s hard to believe we are already into the championship season with Districts approaching this weekend. Good luck to everyone at their District meets!
Journal Entry #1 (September 19, 2012 - Initial Posting)
Hey Everyone! My name is Sara Sargent and I will be writing journals about my training and racing throughout the course of my senior year.
As an introduction, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about how I became interested in running. Before I joined the St. Ignatius CYO Track & Field and Cross Country programs, I tried and enjoyed many different sports from soccer to horseback riding. It wasn’t until I participated in the Fourth of July Mile Fun Run at Washington’s Crossing Park that I knew running was for me. I got off to a bumpy start. The starter gun went off and I tripped and fell to the ground. My slip-on skechers weren’t much help to say the least! After that not so ideal start, I quickly sprang up and started running as fast as I could. Before I knew it, I was in the lead and crossed the finish line first. I loved the feeling I got after running a race. The following spring I decided to join the St. Ignatius Track & Field team. That was when I fell in love with the sport.
Like many runners, I have faced a few set backs that I believe have actually turned out to be “setups”. As a sophomore, I was diagnosed with mono two weeks after the cross country state championships. I ran half the season having no idea that I was sick. After that, it took me some time to get back to where I was mentally, and physically with my running. I lost some confidence in myself. It was one of the hardest challenges I faced in high school. But, I think that it has only made me a tougher and more determined runner. Throughout my high school running career there were many races where pure guts is what it took to win the race. I had to dig down deep and push myself to achieve my goals. I believe that has given me strength through every hard workout or race. I often think back to those races to give me confidence, and determination. Every runner faces challenges and set backs during their career. In order to get past them, you must embrace the challenge and always think positively.
My summer training went very well. I incorporated more cross training such as aqua jogging and cycling into my daily workout routine. I also enjoyed having a training partner to run with. My sister Olivia is a rising freshman. We are both so excited and cherishing every moment we have as teammates, since it is only for one year! I ran along the canal, Tyler State Park and on country style roads that travel all through Bucks County. I feel very confident going into my last high school Cross Country season. My first race is the PIAA Foundation XC Invitational this coming Saturday in Hershey, Pennsylvania. My goal is to leave the high school running world with no regrets and to enjoy every minute of it.
Best of luck to all the runners approaching their cross country races! Represent PA well :)