Jillian Forsey is shown in this undated photo. ‚ÄĒ Submitted photo
WEST VIRGINIA ‚ÄĒ Jillian Forsey spent a lot of hours on her feet training by herself and it meant some lonely times so she‚Äôs embracing life as a freshman at West Virginia University.
The 18-year-old Kippens native is one of eight freshman on the 22-member West Virginia University Mountaineers female cross-country team.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs great to have such a big team of girls to train with,‚ÄĚ Forsey said from West Virginia earlier this week. ‚ÄúAs much as I‚Äąlove running, it‚Äôs even that much more fun when you have a bunch of girls to run with every day. It‚Äôs really making a big difference.‚ÄĚ
Forsey‚Äôs first season with the Mountaineers in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) cross-country running game ended with a 24th-place finish, which was something Forsey thought was pretty good for a young crop of runners trying to find their way.
‚ÄúWe also had a couple of girls injured who could have made a bigger difference, but we had a good season,‚ÄĚ‚Äąshe added.
Since arriving at her new school where she is working towards her goal of being a dentist some day, Forsey has been having a lot of fun getting to know her new surroundings and bunch of new friends she calls teammates.
She‚Äôs settling in nicely because she finds comfort in the fact she‚Äôs surrounded by seven other girls who are in the same boat.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre all kind of experiencing the same things and I guess we‚Äôre just there to support each other all the time,‚ÄĚ she said.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre always looking out for each other so that‚Äôs nice,‚ÄĚ she added.
Forsey, winner of School Sports Newfoundland and Labrador‚Äôs top student-athlete in her final year of high school at Stephenville High, is fresh off a silver-medal performance in the junior women‚Äôs division at the 2013 Canadian cross-country running championship at Jericho Beach Park in Vancouver, B. C.
Despite not being able to defend her title, Forsey was pleased with how she left it all on the road at nationals.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve had a long season of racing so it was really good that I was able to hold on and pull off the silver medal back at home,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúI think I put it all out there on the day. Maybe if I had gone out a little harder and got a better start early in the race I could have went with her (champion Heather Petrick), but I was happy with what I did.‚ÄĚ
Forsey‚Äôs performance in Vancouver qualified her for Team Canada‚Äôs entry at the 2014 North American, Central and Caribbean (NACAC) cross-country championships Feb. 22 in Trinidad and Tobago.
It will mark her third-straight performance at the international event.
She just hopes she has better luck this time around because things didn‚Äôt go as planned on her first two ventures. Last year in Jamaica an Achilles injury caused her grief and her first appearance, two years ago in Trinidad and Tobago, she battled a serious case of pneumonia.
‚ÄúSo I‚Äôm hoping that this year will be my year for redemption,‚ÄĚ she said.