Hard Work Pays Off for Senior Captain of Girls Cross Country Team


Owen Brummel, Staff Writer, Journalism I

The Notre Dame girls cross country team had very few returning runners this season, they lost many talented senior runners, including Jenna Cuene and Kayla Hawley. Going into this season the girls didn’t know how they would hold up. 

Senior captain and Mermaid, Leya Abujamra is one of the top runners on the girls xc team this year. Not running a single step before freshman year, Abujamra has come a long way. 

“Freshman year my personal record(PR) was around 31:10 minutes for the 5k race. Senior year, I now have a PR of 21:51 minutes,” said the senior. 

It is a big deal to improve your personal record by a full 10 minutes.

“When last cross country season ended, I decided to keep running on my own. I learned to enjoy the physical benefits running offered as well as the exercise itself. I would find myself running in the winter on treadmills. I would run every day throughout the entire winter. I unintentionally started to gain speed and endurance with all the practice. When spring came, I decided to join the track team. This was also a great opportunity to test my speed I gained from running in the winter,” said Abujamra.

Her biggest challenge this season is her shins. As a runner, it can be difficult to stay healthy because the smallest of things can have a big impact on the way you run. 

“During the spring I had a stress fracture in my right shin. The pain has slowly started to come back, so it will be challenging to keep up with the workouts as well as keeping my shin healthy,” she explained.

Her main goal is to make it as far as she can through the season with the girls, as she worries that her shins will become a greater issue. She also hopes to make an appearance at the state meet this year. 

“There has been much improvement seen over the last few weeks on the girls team. So many runners are working hard and improving tremendously to make this season a great one. I definitely see some potential on this year’s team,” Abujamra explained.

Leya now serves as a perfect example for the whole Notre Dame cross country team and coaching staff, showing that when you put hard work and dedication into something, you are bound to become better, no matter what. 

She is also a voice of recruitment and speaks out readily about how “impactful” cross country has been on her high school days. 

You will meet so many new people and learn so much more about yourself and your abilities,” she said.  “You won’t regret being part of such an amazing team.”