Q: So last year you had the injury and didn’t run as much. This year, getting to run the races you did, was it satisfying to end your career that way?
A: Yes. Obviously having mostly a full season was something that was my goal. I just wanted to start and finish the cross country season strong and feeling good about myself, feeling proud of what I accomplished. I just wanted to have a successful season and end my senior year on a good note.
Q: Let’s talk about how you ended the season. Tenth at states. Did you feel good about that?
A: States wasn’t necessarily my best race. I think I went out too strong. I just had this goal in my head that I wanted so badly, and when I didn’t meet it, I was a little crushed in the end. But obviously I was very happy to be all-state. That was one of my goals, so I accomplished that; I was satisfied with that, but I would’ve liked to have done better.
Q: Your best time was earlier in the season at the Great American Cross Country Festival. How did you feel about that race and competing against people from all over the country?
A: That race was amazing. I felt so strong and so amazing that day, and obviously the results came that I was looking for. I was so satisfied and happy with how I had done. I was racing against some of the best people. Just to be able to put myself in the race and try to go out as hard as I could and stick with them, just to be able to do that was so amazing. It was definitely the highlight of my season.
Q: That time was 18:06.5. Was that time, or going under a certain mark, a goal for you?
A: I definitely wanted to PR from my 18:23, so I did accomplish that. Obviously I just wanted to go as low in the 18s as I could, potentially going under 18. But that’s all right [that I didn’t].
Q: You said earlier regionals was one of your best races. Is that because Blacksburg has been really good as a team and you beat those girls? And I think you won it by 25 seconds. Was it satisfying because of that?
A: It was really satisfying. Being able to accomplish that was one of my goals for the season, obviously. [Blacksburg’s] Kaitlynn [Wolfe] and I have been going back and forth for a lot of high school, and she’s a really accomplished runner. So to be able to battle with her and a few of the other Blacksburg girls and to be able to come out [on top], it was just something I was really proud of. More importantly, I was so proud of my team [for qualifying for states]. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.
Q: How much of your success is because you are self-motivated, and how much of it is because you’re running against tough competitors?
A: I think that cross country is such a mental sport. I think yes, you have the competition, and it’s great if you stay up with them, but half the battle is, “OK, Jette, you can do this.” You have to stay mentally tough. “I can stay up with them, and I can beat them.” You have to keep telling yourself that, because your mental toughness is one of the most important things. Yeah, you have to be strong in your legs, you have to be fast, but you have to have good mental strength to be able to compete with these girls.
Q: Have you seen yourself grow in that respect from your freshman year until now?
A: Oh, for sure. Freshman year, I didn’t know what I was doing. It was all new to me. And then going into my senior year, I felt like a new runner, a new person. I’ve gained so much more confidence. I believe in myself so much more. I feel like I have gotten a lot more mentally tough from all the races I’ve done. I’m more motivated.
Q: What are some things you take away from your career, that you’ll remember years from now? Good moments, bad moments, things that you learned?
A: I love running, and getting hurt a bunch of times has been a bummer, but I just had to keep my head up, because I want to do this in college. So high school was just the stepping stone of where I want to be. This is the starting point of my career. Not every day is gonna be my best day in high school, but in the big picture, it’s just one race. … High school, the good and the bad races prepared me [for college].
Q: What’s your favorite movie?
A: “Prefontaine.” For favorite Christmas movie, I like “Elf” and “Home Alone.” I also like “Ride Along.” Pretty much any movie with Kevin Hart I like. I like comedy.
Q: What’s your favorite genre of music?
A: I like pop, rock. My favorite artists are Billie Eilish, Miley Cyrus, Macklemore.
Q: Do you listen to those while you run?
A: I like fast-paced music when I run. I like Eminem when I run. … Something to get me motivated.
Q: Favorite meal and favorite restaurant?
A: Favorite restaurant, well there’s so many good ones. I like El Jefe, because I love tacos. My Dog Duke’s Diner, love that. Then also just Mi Patron or Rivermont Pizza. Then my favorite food, I love pasta and meatloaf.
Q: What’s one piece of advice you have for younger runners?
A: Don’t compare yourself to other runners. Don’t compare yourself to other teammates. Don’t compare yourself to siblings or other people. You are your own person, and no one can take that away from you. You have your individuality. That’s something I struggled with for a long time. All of middle school, my freshman year, I compared myself to my competitors, to my sister Libby. Then I finally realized, “Hey, I’m Jette, and I’m cool with that.” Don’t compare yourself [to others]. It ends up putting baggage on you that’s unnecessary.
Q: Anything else you want to add?
A: Oh, my favorite quote. I remember you asked me this last year (for The News & Advance’s 2018 all-area girls cross country runner of the year profile) and I didn’t have one. So I found one. Well, I have two actually: “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life,” which is Muhammad Ali. And then, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift,” which is [the movie] “Prefontaine.” Those two are very important, very good pieces of advice. Take risks. Be brave. Go out of your comfort zone, and you never know what could happen.
Emily Brown covers the Hillcats, ODAC and high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5529.