By Chloe Drescher
Assistant Editor of Promotions
“It was a great honor being Athlete of the Week,” says junior Rachel Fairbanks; “it has inspired me to get better and beat out my competition to prove to people that I’m not just another runner.” Fairbanks, a student at Jamesville-DeWitt High School won Athlete of the Week for her exemplary performance during cross country season. Fairbanks started running track in seventh grade, then joined cross country in eighth grade. Her former track coach, science teacher Nancy Raitch was the one who inspired her to run varsity cross country. “Mrs. Raitch also helped shape me into the runner I have become,” Fairbanks says.
As a leader on the cross country team, Fairbanks describes herself as a “particularly harsh person when it comes to her teammates.” Her definition of a good team leader is to be understanding at some points, but harsh at others. She adds that “you need to be caring, yet at the same time not afraid to push your team and make them strive for excellence.” Head Coach Jim Lawton says “Rachel has set goals for herself in running as well as in academics. This shows that she wants to be successful in life not just in sports.” Senior Lauren Morelli considers Fairbanks to be a leader. “She’s an amazing athlete who is confident, yet not conceited and always helps (teammates) out,” says Morelli. Fairbanks says that even though she can be harsh, she is prepared to help any of her teammates with anything and everything. “It’s obvious that she deserved this award because she is constantly working and is always trying to improve,” says senior Isaac Tupper. Senior Molly Sterriker agrees with Tupper in that Fairbanks deserves this award. “She pushes herself and is extremely tough on herself,” say Sterriker.
During Fairbanks high school career, she has run all three seasons of cross country and indoor and outdoor track. So far, during the three seasons, she has broken several school records, which include the cross country course record, the 600 meter, 800 meter, 1000 meter and the 4 by 800 meter relay. “These (including Athlete of the Week) I consider to be my biggest running accomplishments,” she says. “The Athlete of the week award was well deserved because Rachel had just reset her own school record on our home course by over 20 seconds. She was undefeated in all the league meets and was the top ranked runner in Class,” says Head Coach Jim Lawton. (If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you'll be able to view NewsChannel 9's original coverage.)
Fairbanks biggest role model is her coach, Mrs. Rowles. “She is an amazingly strong women and always puts others before herself,” says Fairbanks. Fairbanks adds that Coach Rowles pushes her to what feels like her breaking point and then tells her to do even more after Fairbanks has hit that point. “Coach Rowles has made me realize how strong I truly am and just how great pain is in the end, when you’re stronger than ever,” she said.
After high school Fairbanks plans on going into the military and then becoming an FBI special field agent. Both getting into the military and becoming an FBI agent require high physical fitness, Fairbanks explains. “I hope to continue to get stronger and faster as I grow,” says Fairbanks.