Throughout the summer, we will be honoring graduating seniors with our annual Salute to Seniors series! To submit your own questionnaires to be posted on the front page of PennTrackXC, check out this page and email your responses to Dan Beck (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Okumura reflected on her career for PennTrackXC below.
What was your most memorable race/competition?
My 800 meter race at the Lower Merion Invitational. I had been boxed in and shoved during the first 100 meters of the race. I gained back my momentum and passed a bunch of girls and was in 2nd by the first 400 meters. I stayed on the leader's shoulder and then surged passed her with 200 to go. It was the first time I ever won an event.
Where did you face your biggest competition?
During my freshman and sophomore years, my older sister was on my team and I wanted to be better than her. She was definitely my biggest competition no matter how fast the other girls were.
Out of all of your high school accomplishments, which stands out the most?
Dropping 15 seconds in my 800 PR in one season. I went from a 2:39 to a 2:24!
If you could do it all over again, what would you change about your athletic career in high school?
I would have focused more on nutrition and strength training. Fueling up right and strength training is important if you want to become faster.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
My self-doubts. I lacked confidence for the longest time. That really held me back from improving as a runner. This past season, I finally realized that the only reason why I wasn't running faster was because I didn't believe I could.
What will you miss the most?
My teammates! Whether it was a workout in the blistering heat, or a long run in the snow, my teammates were there to push me and we always found a way to have a good time!
Do you have any advice for younger athletes?
Take your easy days easy. Recovery is just as important as workouts.
How have your coaches influenced your performances and your life goals overall?
My track coaches, Coach Eberly and Coach Corrie really helped me find confidence and see the importance of working hard. They encouraged me to push my limits and helped me crush my goals!
What are your post-high school plans?
I plan to further both my academic and running careers at West Chester University this fall.
I would like to thank my family for their continuous support and my teammates for always pushing me to become better. I don't know where I'd be without them.