Jayme Kusyk is in the top of her class academically at Charlottesville High School. She was also recognized last year as of the best lacrosse players in the region, and is being recruited to play at the Division-I level. While Kusyk's grades and skills may help her earn a spot at a top school, it’s her years with cross-country that have given her the confidence to chase after her goals.
"I was just going to do it for fun I guess, and at this point it's probably one of the things that's most defined who I am as a person," she says.
"She's steadfast in her approach to everything," adds Charlottesville cross country coach Amy Pritchard. "She doesn't give up, and those are essential skills with cross country, because it's an endurance sport and the results that you get are only from the hard work that you put into it."
Kusyk just wrapped up her cross country career at CHS, helping lead the Black Knights to regionals.
"Her cheerful spirit is really what I'll miss the most," said Pritchard of Kusyk, who is a two-year captain in cross country. "She's always organized "spirit events" for the girls, things that they do, gifts that they bring to each other, activities that they do together."
In the spring, Kusyk will play her final season of lacrosse at CHS. Last season, as a junior, she was named first-team All-West Central Section as an attacker.'
"I'm a three year captain and that's been very rewarding," she said. "It's probably the biggest commitment I have outside of school."
Kusyk is currently being recruited by Brown to play lacrosse, and she’s also applied to some other Ivy league schools. With a 4.46 GPA, she has the stats to earn a spot at a top college, and thanks to cross country she also has the courage to go after the best schools.
"It takes a lot of confidence to put yourself out there and say 'this is the best I can do,' and get that index card that says number 27 or something, not number one," Kusyk says of cross country. "It's made me always want to try. I think that's why I've gone after these top schools, is because I'm not afraid to have someone tell me, 'you're not good enough.'"
"Everyone says it's hard work that makes a great cross-country runner, but I think it's really courage. I think you have to have a lot of bravery to put yourself out there and push yourself to that much pain in every race or workout."