ROCKORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — If you were to head out to one of the local high school Cross Country meets you may find a familiar face at the front of the pack. It’s most likely Guilford sophomore Michelle Gasmund.
Gasmund won the NIC-10 individual conference championship, and also took first place in a come-from-behind effort winning Regionals where she rallied despite being in third place for most of the race.
“This year’s been a great year for her because she’s learned a lot,” said coach Rick Durso. “She’s learned how to be a part of a team and how to lead a team. To come out here [at Regionals] and win a conference championship and come back with a regional championship, she ran like a veteran runner.”
She has her mind set on her goals.
“I want to go to State each year, and do good at that and then just see the progress and look back at it.”
She also has some more long term goals.
“I definitely want to compete in college. I see all these people running for college and how they say it’s so fun, but they work hard, and it’s a family thing,” Gasmund said. “I’m into the sport in high school, and to be in it in college, and do well in college, is going to be a great experience.”
Durso said he believes she has more running to do beyond high school.
“I think she has the ability to run beyond this. But she’s only a sophomore,” said Durso. “As fast as the time will go, it’s still a long ways away, there’s still a lot to learn.”
This season was actually Gasmund’s first with the Vikings. In 2019, her freshman year, she attended and ran cross country at Rockford East High School.
“It was sad, I didn’t want to leave my friends at East, but I still keep in contact with them and I still say, ‘congratulations,’ and I still hang out with them,” she said. “…I mean it was kind of hard at first, then I realized there’s still going to be a running team at Guilford so I wouldn’t be alone so I didn’t have to move and then not run. It was hard, but it was also a great experience.”
According to Durso she’s handled the transition exceptionally well.
“She has come in and made friends with everybody, and she just jumped right in and blended right in with team.”
Gasmund said her and her teammates have become extremely close, and in some cases becoming her closest friends.
“In the summer when we started practicing, they were all warmed up to me and they included me in everything, there was never a day where they didn’t include me. They’re all really great friends, they’re great people and we’re all like a huge family.”