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Suburban Life Most Valuable Athlete: Brenna Cohoon, Downers Grove South junior, cross country

Brenna Cohoon
Brenna Cohoon


Brenna Cohoon broke her own school record at the First to the Finish Invite in Peoria, running the 3-mile course in 17 minutes, 7 seconds for fifth place in leading her team to second.

Cohoon talked to Suburban Life sports editor Joshua Welge about her start to the season. Here is an edited version of the transcript:

Welge: How did you feel about your run?

Cohoon: I was really happy with the results. I had a much calmer mindset than I did other races. I had the confidence to perform well, and I think I realized that I needed to take a step back and simply be grateful for the opportunities I have.

Welge: Did the race play out as anticipated?

Cohoon: Absolutely. I went out first mile, I wanted to be fast but keep it under control. At that point girls made their moves. I knew I had to stay with the pack to achieve my goals. I knew if I finished in the top five or 10, the time would take care of itself. It was a great time to run this early in the season.

Welge: Do you have a race day routine or superstition?

Cohoon: I eat the same breakfast, a bagel with peanut butter, and usually wear the same headband and bow. I focus on relaxing, spending time with teammates, listening to music on the bus.

Welge: I noticed you write a blog?

Cohoon: Yes, I started that this season for Illinois High School Cross Country and Track for Mike Newman. He was aware that I was interested in going into sports journalism and I got in contact with him. So far I have written about the races that we have had this season, highlighted a specific race and my mindset before, during and after. Since I didn't have a meet last weekend I planned to write about how I got into running and my commitment.

Welge: How did you get started running?

Cohoon: I started running in the fifth grade. It was something that a lot of my classmates were doing and I felt like I should do. One day before the season, I was jogging with my mom and she said 'Slow down, stop running so fast.' That fall I joined the cross country team, and I also played volleyball. It wasn't until freshman year that I stopped playing volleyball and fully committed myself to cross country.

Welge: How big of an adjustment was it going from a smaller school [St. Joseph in Downers Grove] to a big high school?

Cohoon: Athletically, it was a big adjustment. Except for my first year [at St. Joseph] I was the only girl that ran on the team. Coming in to high school and having 45-50 girls on the team was an amazing surprise. To see how close everyone was, acting as a family, was super exciting. That helped me with the adjustment to school, to feel more comfortable.

Welge: What was your summer regimen like?

Cohoon: Running with the team, I would say we averaged about 35 miles a week, worked our way up to 45-50. We were putting in some long runs, not doing as many workouts so we could get more mileage.

Welge: What are your goals for this season?

Cohoon: Individually, I would like to place top 10 in the state and break 17 minutes. As a team we would like to perform better at state than we have the last couple of years.

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