Senior cross country runner Victoria Rogers is leading her team towards success as she is constantly pushing herself to be the best she can be. She was Mercer’s top finisher in its first three meets and then its runner up in the latest meet.
While she is hitting her stride now, running was not always Rogers’ favorite sport. She first took up cross country in the fall of her seventh grade year to get ready for soccer in the spring. She ended up not making her middle school’s soccer team, but her dad encouraged her to keep her head of up and run track instead. Ever since, Rogers has been in love with running.
“My dad originally inspired me to run since he was a runner, too,” Rogers said. “I try to do good for him and obviously my teammates and my coach who is always there encouraging us, too.”
Rogers had been playing soccer since she was five, but she never felt the confidence playing soccer that she did after she started running. While playing soccer her skills remained stagnant, but when she ran she was able to quickly improve and build up a lot of confidence over time. Rogers’ passion for running now translates into confidence in everything she does.
“It’s good to be confident in what you do. I was not really a good runner at first,” Rogers said. “You finish a race and you know who was the best and who wasn’t, so it’s very clear and straightforward.”
As a senior on the team, Rogers saw that she needed to step up to encourage her teammates to get to the next level. She said while she motivates her teammates, they also motivate her to keep moving forward and be the best she can be.
“Victoria is an all-around great person, not just at meets and practice, but all around campus. She always has a positive mood and is willing to do anything it takes to get better,” said freshman cross country runner Julia Turbyfield. “She pushes herself to her full potential, and at the same time she is supporting and encouraging us to do our best.”
Rogers wants to motivate her teammates to keep improving and one of her small-term goals is to influence the people around her.
“I try putting a smile on a face and also to be a friendly person, just make other people’s day,” Rogers said.
[pullquote speaker="Victoria Rogers" photo="" align="left" background="on" border="all" shadow="on"]“Whenever I talk to people at my high school and they say, ‘I don’t know if I want to run cross country in college,’ I always tell them to do it because it was the best decision I ever made.[/pullquote]
While cross country overall is a team sport, most practice and training is individualized for each athlete to know where they need to improve and how they can push towards their goals.
Rogers runs with her old high school’s teammates over the summer and then during the season has workouts given by the coach. Rogers says that usually during the season, cross country runners can run between 45 and 50 miles per week, while in the summer they run between 55 and 60 miles per week to build a higher endurance.
In terms of setting goals to improve, Rogers hopes to keep getting better. Since cross country can be highly individual, she can see her improvement over time. She wants every race to be better than the one before, and each week she strives to improve a little more.
“Anyone can run — that’s what I love about it,” Rogers said. “People will say, ‘No, I can’t do it,’ but really anyone can run whether it’s one mile or ten miles or a marathon . . . Not everyone can play basketball — I can’t — but everyone can run.”
Rogers encourages everyone to run collegiately or for fun.
“Whenever I talk to people at my high school and they say, ‘I don’t know if I want to run cross country in college,’ I always tell them to do it because it was the best decision I ever made,” Rogers said. “It was just a great way to meet people and get involved with the school. It keeps you motivated and on a schedule, and it teaches you time management. I would highly recommend it for everyone.”
Rogers also runs on Mercer’s track team, participating in both the 5K and 10K events.
“The 10K is 25 laps on the track, so it’s mentally really tough. You just keep going. I count it one lap at a time and try not to think about how many more you have to go. I just worry about one lap at a time and over time you [finish],” Rogers said.
After college she still plans to run for fun, and wants to run at least one marathon. Rogers is a Biology major on a Pre-Physician Assistant track and plans to go to PA school.
“I hope that I’ve left a positive mark [on Mercer] and inspired other people to be better,” Rogers said.
Rogers runs through life one lap at a time