Running with the boys

Freshman Allison Newman sets a new pace for girls cross country

Allison Newman participates in a intense cross country practice. Girls cross country coach Lesley Brainard has always appreciated the work that Allison puts into the team.

She ran with varsity as an eighth grader. She broke the girls’ 5k record within three weeks of starting her freshman year. If track were in season, she’d have the 3200 record, as well. Oh, and she swims, too.

Allison Newman has running in her blood. Her father, Mr. Mark Newman, coaches the varsity boys cross-country team and is an Ironman athlete.

“I’ve grown up with this team with my dad. I’ve been a part of it since I was four or five,” Newman said. “It awesome to see how far it’s come and being able to actually be a part of it now is a great feeling.”

Now, not only is she a part of the girls team, but she regularly trains with the boys as well.

Captain of the boys’ team Lucas Williamson has known Allison since she was in the sixth grade and claims he has always known that she had the potential to excel.

“I’ve always known that she was going to be doing these workouts when she was a freshman on the team with the guys,” Williamson said. “It was never a doubt in my mind that she was going to be the fastest girl that we’ve ever had at this school.”

When it comes to running with the boys’ team, Allison sees it as a way to help the team as a whole.

“I don’t want to look like a bad teammate to the girls being like ‘Oh, I’m too good for that, so I’ll just run with the guys,’” Allison said. “But this makes me faster, which helps the girls’ team get better, like win regions, get higher places at state. It helps me, but it also helps the girls’ team too.”

Her cross country coach, Mrs. Lesley Brainard, appreciates the hard work Allison puts into herself and the team.

“She’s a great asset to the team,” Coach Brainard said. “She is very humble but a very hard worker. She’s having success because she’s putting the work in for it, and I think all of her teammates see that. She’s a good role model for everyone else to work harder.”

Newman says she feels like part of her role is to push the team to do better, and being female sometimes helps her do that.

“Nobody wants to be beat by a girl, guys especially,” Newman said. “It helps me but it also helps them in a way because we just push each other.”

As driven as she is, Newman isn’t primarily motivated by breaking records.

“It’s not something I focus on. I just see it as a bonus,” Newman said. “I just want to do whatever I can do to get better, to help our team and do it for fun.”

Allison’s leadership and humility is a source of pride for her father.

“She’s not opposed to helping people out and urging them on and cheering for them,” Coach Newman said. “I’m really proud of her for that.”

Looking to the future, Newman is not sure whether she wants to run or swim in college. She is considering both, but she has four more years of high school to continue competing.

“The great thing about Allison being so competitive at a young age is that SGIS gets to look forward to four years of watching her improve on her already outstanding performances,” Coach Brainard said.

Annika Conlee and Cary Robbins contributed additional reporting to this story.