War Eagle Watch sat down with Woodward cross country athlete Cece Ng ‘19 about her season, future, and what drew her to running.
War Eagle Watch: How did you feel this cross country season went for you overall?
Cece Ng: I feel that this season was probably my best season with regards to my performance and connection with the team. Not only did I run a personal 5K best of 19:54, but I also felt more confident as a runner as well. As a team captain for this season, I was able to organize team-related events such as team lunches and be a leader for my team to follow. Although I have always had close friends on the team, this year I felt more connected with all of my teammates, especially the girls team. My goal this year was to create an accepting, caring, and goal-driven atmosphere for the girls. Together we created our own little family and I will always value those relationships we made.
WEW: When did you get started running? Why were you drawn to cross country as a sport?
CN: I started running in 6th grade with a program called Girls on the Run. After I enrolled at Woodward, my dad encouraged me to join a team to meet friends. He is a runner himself, so he suggested that I, too, take up running as it is in my blood. At first I was nervous, but I understood that it was an opportunity for me to connect with people and establish myself as a serious runner. Cross country has been a very prevalent part of my life ever since, as it has given me friendships and connections with people that have lasted throughout my entire high school career.
WEW: Looking back at your time at Woodward, what are you most proud of, both in terms of sports and off the field as well?
CN: I think that my proudest moment would definitely be winning our Region Championship this past year. I have always been chasing the title, both literally and figuratively, and all of my hard work finally paid off during this race. Not only am I proud of my success, but I am even more proud of my girls team. Although we placed second, I have never seen a more hardworking and dedicated group of girls, and I was so proud of every single one of them since I knew they tried their best. The boys team, which won a region title, impressed me beyond belief and I was so proud of them as well.
WEW: Have you started narrowing down your college list, or have you made a decision already? What key factors are going into your decision?
CN: I have started to narrow down my list to a few schools in the northeast and also the west. As of now I have not made a decision, but I am really interested in the University of Southern California and Barnard College. The main factors that contribute to my decision making process are location, internship opportunities, and areas of individualized study.
WEW: One of the most challenging things for top level student-athletes is balancing the demands of sports and school. How did you balance academics and running throughout your Woodward career? What were some of the biggest challenges?
CN: Since I started cross country in middle school, I gradually learned how to handle my athletic and academic careers hand in hand as the level of difficulty progressed. I was so used to always having a sport after school in Middle School that when I transitioned into the Upper School, it was not difficult for me to learn how to balance the two. However, a good portion of my afternoons (around 2.5 hours a day) were dedicated to cross country, which motivated me to find time to study whenever I could. Especially during the weekends, I had to sacrifice a lot of studying time for my sport for meets, but I learned how to properly adjust to that shift in my schedule as well by preparing for assignments and assessments in advance. My biggest challenges with balancing the two would have to be the weekends, since I also work a part time job.
WEW: How does it feel to be heading into your final months at Woodward? What are the emotions like?
CN: Heading into my final months at Woodward seems unreal. Senior year is what everyone looks forward to throughout high school and now that it is finally here, I find that the time seems to be flying by. For me, the emotions I experience vary depending on which area of high school I focus on. With regards to college applications and school work, I simply cannot wait for graduation. However, I love spending time with my friends and experiencing senior-specific activities and privileges, which makes me not want the year to end. Especially with the conclusion of my cross country career, I am sad that my years of running are over but I am so grateful for the experience I have had these past few years. My coaches and teammates are some of my biggest supporters and I am always happy to see them support me both on and off the course.
WEW: What are your goals for the future? What are you planning on majoring in? Do you have ambitions of continuing to run competitively in college?
CN: I plan on majoring in Psychology with an emphasis in child behavioural studies. I plan on interning anywhere I can with the help of my college of choice and I plan to open my own practice in the future. Although I do not plan on running competitively in college, I do desire to join a running club within my college community to meet people who love the sport as much as I do.