In middle school, future cross country all-stater Brigette Caruthers was a volleyball player. That was the initial plan.
When she missed the cut for seventh grade volleyball tryouts, it was time for a new sport.
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“I didn’t want to do cross country,” Caruthers said. “I went out for volleyball in 7th grade and when I didn’t make that, my mom decided that I was going to try a sport she wanted.”
“So she had me go out for cross country.”
Caruthers was skeptical at first.
“I didn’t wanna do it,” she said. “I just thought it was so hard with all the running.”
She went out for it and just a few years later, would become a regular at the Class 4 state competition.
Caruthers, who will run cross country and track at Central Arkansas next school year, was a four-time state qualifier at Branson High School. She placed 21st at state as a freshman, then in the top 6 or better for the next three years.
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Not a bad career for someone who thought she’d be overmatched coming out of high school.
“It was a surprise,” Caruthers said of making state as a freshman. “When I got up there I was like, ‘OK Brigette, you’re up here with all these high schoolers now so you probably won’t be that good.’ I thought I would probably be one of the worst runners.”
That wasn’t the case. After a few meets, Caruthers was doing well and gaining confidence.
“My freshman year at conference, I ran well and I realized I could handle it,” she said.
This year, Caruthers won her conference and district meet and placed second at sectionals. She was fourth at state, one place behind her finish as a junior.
“I was kind of (satisfied), I guess,” Caruthers said. “I wanted bigger goals at the start of the season… I just wanted to run better than I did the year before and keep improving.”
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Those bigger goals included winning state this year.
“At the beginning of the season, I thought I might (win), but the season didn’t really turn out that way.”
Caruthers plans to study physical therapy at Central Arkansas.
Getting to know Brigette Caruthers
Favorite athlete: No clue. I don’t watch much sports on TV. I’d rather be out playing them.
Favorite team: N/A
Prerun superstitions: Whenever we run the course as a team before a meet, we never pass the finish line. It’s bad luck.
Most disliked athlete: Don’t have one
Favorite movie: Pirates of the Caribbean
Favorite musical artist: Aerosmith
Favorite actor: Johnny Depp
Favorite athletic memory: At conference my sophomore year, I ran like the best time I ever had. But the other girls on the team didn’t run that well, so our coach chewed us all out afterwards… I was so sad, thinking, ‘Coach, why did you chew me out? I ran the best time I ever had.’ But he came up to me after that and apologized. I was really sad at first.
Song on your iPod people wouldn’t expect: I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts, Lion King
Hidden talent: I can color hair