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Going the distance
Caroline Austin is ready to lead the women's cross country team this season
Published 8/22/2012 6:00:00 AM
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Courtesy Athletic CommunicationsSenior cross country runner Caroline Austin races at Pac-12 Championships last season Senior cross country runner Caroline Austin is gearing up for a pressure-filled 2012 season. Austin hopes to improve on the success of previous seasons as she plans to lead a youthful women's cross country team. 

“Being the oldest, I do expect to carry this team,” Austin said.

Last season, Austin finished in second place at the Erik Anderson Invitational and made it all the way to the NCAA West Regionals where she finished in 40th place.

This season Caroline Austin expects to improve, which will help set her up for a future in distance running at the highest level.

“The main goal for me is Rio 2016,” Austin said.

If the 2016 Olympics don’t turn out in her favor, Austin dreams of continuing her career by offering others the running wisdom she has acquired at WSU.

“I hope to actually be a distance coach at a Division I school and ultimately be the head track and field coach of a department,” Austin said.

Austin said her parents fostered her love of sports and her desire to one day coach.

“When I was younger they put me in a lot of sports, so I could get a feel of what I wanted to do,” said Austin. “They were very supportive, not just pushing me to do one sport.”

Both of her parents are former track runners, and sports were undoubtedly a central part of Austin's childhood.

“I went to the same high school as mom, and she was the head runner during her time in school,"Austin said.  "It was nice to follow in her footsteps."

In high school, Caroline Austin was originally a sprinter and a soccer player. It wasn't until her coaches noticed her unique abilities that she began running cross country.

“They noticed I had endurance and slowly moved me up into distant races,” Austin said.

Attending a track and field camp at WSU in high school, Austin spoke with the WSU coaching staff and was inspired to switch to distance running.

“I came to WSU because I really liked the coaching staff and the area itself,” Austin said. “It’s a good location to train and study because there are not too many distractions.”

As a student athlete, Austin still finds the time to focus on her studies and compete despite her busy schedule. She is currently pursuing a degree in kinesiology.

“It’s a bit overwhelming at first,” Austin said. “You really have to learn how to manage your time and how to balance all the other different aspects in life.”

Off the course, Austin does set aside moments to relax and enjoy herself.

“A friend of mine is on the WSU soccer team and I like to go bowling and watch movies," Austin said. “Those are probably my two favorite things to do for fun.”

As the oldest member on this year's team, Austin will have the opportunity to test her dreams by coaching and encouraging her fellow teammates.

“We do have a lot of younger athletes but there’s potential,” Austin said. “There’s a lot of room to do great things.”

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