South Pointe's Paxton runs personal best at Wendy's

Name: Olivia Paxton, but most people call me Liv
Personal bests: 19:21 5K, 11:44 3200, 5:34 1600
Hobbies: My hobbies include reading, looking into politics, and hiking.
Academic interest: English and Political Science

How did you get involved in the sport and why?
I tried most of the basic sports; gymnastics, ballet, basketball, some cheerleading and then I started club cross country when I was 11 because I was curious about it. 

Tell us about your Wendy's Invitational performance this past weekend? 
I ran a personal best by 22 (19:21) seconds and broke the school record which used to be 19:22.

How did your race at Wendy's unfold? 
I got off to a slow start, and was caught in the back. By bottom of the hill I was in 12th and the race pretty much just happened after that. 

Do you have any family members involved in the sport? Please explain. 
My dad is the Winthrop track and cross country coach, my brother is a 400/800 runner for Winthrop and my mom ran the 800 and long jumped in high school. 

What roles do you have on the team this year?
My teammate Kayla Klimpel and I took on the role as team leaders when we lost a bunch of seniors last year. 

What goals do you have for the rest of the season? 
I want to finish top five at Class AAA state, I want my team to qualify for state, and I'd really like to run under 19 minutes. 

Do you have any post season cross country meets planned?   
I plan on running Foot Locker South in November. 

Do you have a specific race strategy that works best for you? 
Not really, I mean it depends on the course. I usually like to go out fast but not too fast, that never really works out for me. 

What do you enjoy about the South Pointe team and being on the course with them daily? 
They're like my second family - both the guys and girls - and Coach Ardis, Coach Koterba and Coach Stansel make practice fun every day. I like how my team seems to accept me even though I go overboard with the team spirit thing. 

What plans do you have for the future? 
I plan on going to college to major in English and Political Science and then going to Law School somewhere out of state. 

Are you looking to run at a college?
I'd love to run in college, specifically for my dad at Winthrop. I think that'd be a good fit for me. 

Do you remember your first race?
Yeah, I was in fourth grade doing Girls on the Run and I remember I only walked once right before the three-mile mark. I didn't even realize I was so close to finishing! 

How did summer training go?
Fantastic I think, I spent a lot of time training in Gatlinburg, Tenn. and biking around the state of Michigan on a 300-mile bike tour.

What do you remember the most from being a runner?
I think my favorite thing is the long runs. The day after Wendy's I ran 11 miles just because I could. I would do a long run over a speed workout any day. 

Do you have a pre-race tradition? Please explain.
I always get to the courses two hours before my race for Saturday meets to scope it out, I always pray with my team and lead the team chant and I always use only three safety pins to attach my number to my shirt. 

What is it like to have a dad as a college coach? 
I think it's pretty awesome to have a college coach as a Dad. It's really exposed me to the world of collegiate running and I love running with his girls team. They're all so nice and supportive. 

How do you balance academics, athletics and other responsibilities?
It's pretty tough, especially with trying to get enough sleep. Let’s just say I live off coffee sometimes. 

What challenges or injuries have you encountered in the sport? How did you stay motivated during this time? 
I had a breakthrough track season this past year, and at the very end I had growth plate issues and hurt my hip which kept me from performing well at the state qualifier. I also couldn't run USATF Junior Olympics steeplechase which was awful because that's my favorite event. I just focused on getting better and listened to my dad. 

If there is one thing in the world you could do, what would it be and why? 
I'd love to see Shalane Flanagan in person. She's my idol and I just want her autograph. 

Favorite runner(s): Shalane Flanagan (of course) and Terrance Herrington, who my dad coached and who I like to refer to as Uncle T.
Favorite foodIt would have to be a McDonalds hamburger- ketchup only with fries between the patty and bun. 
Favorite bands: Not a band but Bob Dylan and Van Morrison, I also jam out to some Taylor Swift occasionally. I even cut my hair to look like hers. 
Favorite quote: "If you don't like how someone treats you, it's not okay, and it's never okay. And don't apologize and say it's okay." -Wendy Ruth Paxton (my mom).
Favorite training shoe and racing shoe: Training- Adidas Supernova. Racing- Adidas Adizero Spikes
Inspirational person in your life: My big brother Gabriel because he always perseveres through injuries and hardships and he's probably my best friend.