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Student Athlete of the Week -- Samantha Yarbrough

While her classmates were relaxing this summer, Monticello senior Samantha Yarbrough was running every day. In all, she ran more than 300 miles in just a few months.

Her training has allowed her to jump from twentieth to second on the Monticello cross-country depth chart. "I was running every day over the summer, every day in the off-season, and just keeping it up and pushing myself every day," Yarbrough says of her summer training schedule.

The senior has also taken about six minutes off her 5K time in the last two years. Monticello cross-country coach Doug Bloor has seen the improvement firsthand. "I think it goes back to her maturity and her thought process in her being an athlete," says Bloor. "She knows, 'if I'm going to get better, I have to do X, Y, and Z.' She's done those things, and it's paid off."

After taking up the sport as a sophomore, Yarbrough says she hit a road block last year. "I was anemic, severely anemic, so I took iron pills and took care of myself first. I think that's really what's brought out my full potential. My anemia was holding me back, but now this year I feel like I have something to prove."

Yarbrough has already proven herself in the classroom. She's earned a 4.6 grade point average, and she's a member four different honors societies. She says her favorite is math, which isn't surprising for someone who enjoys the challenges of cross-country running.

"She is very serious internally, but she just has this great demeanor at practice that's fun and that is motivating," Bloor said. "It can make everyone, the kids and the coaches, laugh. She really can balance that out."

For college next year, Yarbrough is looking at UVa and also the University of Georgia. Wherever she ends up, she says she plans to keep running in college and after. "I've run a bunch of 5Ks, and there's 40-year-olds who are beating 20-year-olds, and I kind of want to be that person. I want to say, 'yeah, I beat someone less than half my age.'"

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