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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Cannon’s ultra-competitive Wrenholt is on the fast track to success

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Cannon School freshman Elise Wrenhort leads the field during a Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association cross country meet.

CONCORD – The fastest girls cross country runner in Cabarrus County is barely a month into high school.

She’s still learning her way around Cannon School’s immaculately manicured campus, and she avoids conflict at all cost, even if it means staying away from social media platforms like Twitter.

Instead, she says, she prefers Instagram.

But Elise Wrenholt never backs down on the cross country course.

No way.

And, boy, has it already paid dividends in her young-but-sterling career.

Currently, Wrenholt has the fastest 5,000-meter time of any girls runner in the county, boasting a personal best of 20 minutes, 17.6 seconds set at the Carolinas Kickoff in Indian Trail last month, coming in 10th place in a field that featured some of the best in the state.

No other girl in Cabarrus County has gone below the 21-minute mark, with the closest being Cox Mill junior Zoe Conley at 21:02.7.

Despite her age, Wrenholt is very familiar with top-flight running. This is her first year at Cannon, but when she was an eighth-grader at Davidson’s Woodlawn School, her personal best was 20:37 – which would still be the No. 1 time in Cabarrus County this year.

During her time at Woodlawn, Wrenholt ran on the varsity team, which actually led to her competing against Cannon. But Cougars girls coach Claire Gardin is certainly glad to have Wrenholt on board now, as the rookie has helped Cannon win all three of the Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association meets it’s competed in thus far.

Wrenholt, too, has taken first place in all three races.

For her efforts, Wrenholt is the Independent Tribune’s Athlete of the Week.

Wrenholt spent a little time answering questions – some serious, some not-so serious – from the IT, just so we could learn more about this fall’s fastest girls runner.

How do you feel about your 20:17.6?

I think the Carolinas Kickoff went really, really well. I was really excited, since it was the first meet of the season. There were a lot of schools there. I’m pretty competitive, so it was nice to have some people right there with me the whole race.

How long have you been running?

I started running in seventh grade on the middle school cross country team at my old school. But my mom (Valerie) likes to run, and my sister (Jessie) likes to run, too. She’s a seventh-grader this year. I also run with my mom outside of school once or twice a week, usually for a long run on the weekend. It’s usually between 6 or 8 miles.

What do you think about during a race?

I just try to be excited and see it as an opportunity to compete. Like I said, I am pretty competitive, so I really thrive off having people near me to push me.

What’s an example of how competitive you are?

I remember at the Carolinas Kickoff having people around me. I found a second wind trying to catch somebody in the last 400 meters, and that’s what got me 10th place.

Do you have any pre-race superstitions, something you absolutely have to do before every race?

I have some lucky socks that I like to wear every race. I’ve had them for a while, and they just fit really well. They don’t have seams really, so they don’t bother my feet at all. I wore them with my spikes, and they actually stamped the Nike logo on the bottom of my socks because it was inside my shoe, and it stayed on there.

Who’s your favorite runner?

I really like (Scottish Olympian) Laura Muir. I think she’s very gutsy in her performances. I remember one of the first track meets I watched on TV, she ran really well. She just took it out really fast and just really showed everybody who was boss.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?

This summer, I read ‘The Institute’ by Stephen King, and I thought that was a really amazing book. It had a really good plot. It was mostly fiction, but there was a little bit of science involved with it, too, but I liked it a lot.

Do you have a favorite movie?

I really liked ‘The Matrix.’ I thought it was really thought-provoking.

If you could have dinner with any three people, who would they be?

Laura Muir; I’d like to ask her about some of her experiences in running; and my mom and dad (Ross).

Talk or text?

Probably text because it’s just simpler.

Do you have a favorite food?

Cherry cobbler.

Twitter or Instagram?

Instagram. Twitter can be heated.

If you could go back in time, what era would you like to visit?

Probably just before 2020. I feel like things have been pretty good in this era. People have a lot more opportunities than they did before.

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only have one thing, what would it be?

A notebook so I could document things.

What do you like to do besides running?

I like soccer. I’ve only ever done it recreationally, but I really enjoy it. It’s fun. I also used to do rock climbing, and I’d like to go back to that sometime.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Invisibility because I think you could do a lot of fun things with that. I think it would be really nice if you got into a fight with somebody, and they were looking for you, and then you could become invisible to get away.

Which restaurant has the best burgers?

I like Bad Daddy’s. I think they have really good patties. They’re very flavorful.

Finish this sentence: Ten years from now, Elise Wrenholt will be …

Hopefully, I’d like to have run in the Olympics by then.

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