By Mark Ambrogi
Being healthy has made all the difference for Center Grove High School junior Lilly Brunsman.
“Last year was frustrating, battling shin splints, because it restricted me from being with my team and racing in the sport I love,” Brunsman said. “It has been a slow recovery, but with the help from my supportive and loving team, family, coaches and specialists I have been able to work back up to health.
Brunsman finished 11th with a time of 20:16.4 Oct. 8 in the cross-country sectional at Franklin Community High School. The Trojans finished third in advance to the regional Oct. 15 at Franklin.
“Lilly has had a great season so far,” Trojans girls cross country coach Wes Dodson said. “She finally got back under 20 minutes after two years at the Johnson County meet (Oct. 1). Being healthy has been huge for Lilly. It has enabled her to train the entire season and has given her a wealth of confidence. I am really excited to see what she can do in the tournament.
Brunsman said she has made the most improvement in her mental strength before, during and after the race.
“Being mentally tough plays a big role in performance, and I have been working on staying positive and keeping the team positive during meets,” she said.
She said her goal for the rest of the postseason is to get under 20 minutes.
“Treating my body with respect and eating healthy has been a goal all season and will continue into the postseason,” Brunsman said. “Making it to semi-state as a team has been one of our goals since summer and with the effort we are putting into our practices, I think this is very achievable.”
Brunsman has been running competitively since sixth grade. Previously, she ran a few 5K races when she was 7-8 years old.
During track and field season, Brunsman mostly focuses on running the 3,200 meters and occasionally the 3,200 relay.
“Freshman track season went great until signs of injury showed and took me out for the rest of the season,” she said. “During sophomore track season, I started to regain my confidence in my abilities, and I am ready to fight for my spot for the upcoming junior season.”
Brunsman loved playing soccer when she was younger. She started playing at age 3 and played competitively with travel teams up until high school.
“It was a difficult choice choosing between the two because I had so many close relationships with girls and coaches in both sports, but ultimately chose running because it offered me more opportunity,” said Brunsman, who has not made up her mind if she wants to try to compete in cross country and track at the collegiate level.
THE BRUNSMAN FILE
SPORT: Cross country
COLLEGE PLANS: Plans to major in biology with plans to go into the medical field
HOBBIES: Baking, traveling, watching movies and art
FAVORITE SUBJECT: AP Biology
FAVORITE ATHLETE: Sydney McLaughlin
FAVORITE MOVIE: “The Green Mile”
FAVORITE TV SHOW: “Stranger Things”
FAVORITE MUSICIAN: The Weeknd
PARENTS’ NAMES: Phil Brunsman and Michelle Frakes