Fluvanna senior Nicole Douma says having two older sisters has helped push her to excel both in sports and school.
"I'm the youngest and they've just been my role models through my whole school, like I've always tried to be up to their level."
Thanks to those older siblings, Douma has pushed herself academically, taking a number of Advanced Placement classes in high school. Before her high school years, when she was just a sixth grader, Douma joined the cross country, because her older sister was on the team.
Rose Brogan has coached her since that time and remembers what she was like as a young runner. Brogan says from a young age, Douma was "eager, energetic, wanting to be number one, trying to beat everybody. She's developed into a very good leader, leading the younger girls through example. It's been a lot of fun coaching her."
Douma was the captain of the Fluvanna cross country team for her senior season. She also runs indoor and outdoor track, and holds the school record for the mile. With two seasons left before she graduates, Douma is hoping to break her own record.
"I really want to drop my mile time, hopefully down to like a 5:10," she says. "I know it's a pretty steep goal, but I'm really hoping for it."
In addition to the record, the Fluco senior has earned a number of all-region and all-district honors in her running career. As a senior, there was one thing left to accomplish on the course.
"I've never made all-state before, and that was kind of my goal this whole high school running career," she said.
At the 4A state cross country meet in November, Douma placed sixth and earned all-state honors for the first time.
"I definitely felt like it was a great way to end, because it was my last meet and I really wanted to end it on a good note, so that definitely did it for me."
Douma has been motivated in her career by those who came before her, and now Brogan hopes Douma's success will do the same for others.
"I just like to see these little girls look at her going, 'I hope someday that's where I'm at.' So it's nice to see an athlete make it that far so that the younger ones will continue to help make this program successful."