McGill off to fast start in freshman year

Olivia McGill

FRONT ROYAL — Olivia McGill hasn’t shown any signs of freshman jitters for Skyline’s track team this season.

The freshman sprinter continues to put together a very impressive season. Even though she suffered a loss last week in the 100-meter dash, McGill set a new PR.

“I’m very surprised,” McGill said of her season. “I didn’t expect to be first in most of my events — or to be this fast. I didn’t expect to get this far, but I’m really glad I did.”

McGill has won almost every race she’s entered in the 100 and 200. She qualified for the Group 3A state meet in the 100 early in the season, and is only two-hundreths of a second off qualifying in the 200.

In the Falcon Track Classic at Fauquier last Friday, McGill set a new PR in the 100 with a 12.57. She finished third behind two 5A runners — Brooke Point’s Shalah Smiling and Osbourn’s Dominque Newman.

“They helped me run faster,” McGill said of the race. “I’m not upset that I came in third. It was just a learning experience. Going up against competition really matures you.”

McGill also swept the 100 and 200 on Wednesday in a six-team meet at Skyline. She held off Sherando’s Davina Lane in both races.

Back-to-back strong meets helped McGill earn the Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week for April 27-May 3.

Skyline head track coach Steve Burton said he has been very happy with the season McGill’s had, and he’s looking forward to seeing how she responds after facing such tough competition at the Fauquier meet.

“Is the work going to pick up now or is she going to look at it like, ‘There’s girls out there faster than I am,'” Burton said. “Good thing is those schools are 5A schools. … There’s still work to be done. You don’t have to stop working because you’re at the top.”

McGill ran track last season for the first time for the middle school team, and was coached by Charlie Dodge and Rodger Seemiller, both of whom are still coaching her this season after becoming varsity assistants.

She said that the toughest transition moving from middle school to varsity was more intense workouts.

McGill comes from an athletic family. She said her father was a standout football player and her mother did gymnastics. Her older brother, Desmond, was on scholarship for track at Florida International University as a hurdler.

“He was a very big inspiration, because he’s at that level where there’s going to be competition every meet. I always turn to him for advice — ‘What should I do? How do I calm myself at competition?’ He gives me good advice and he says keep it real fun.”

McGill said she moved to Front Royal from Tampa, Florida in sixth grade and had never tried sports until she gave track a try last season.

“People raced me here or there and said you should go out for track,” McGill said. ” … Enough people pushed me and I finally ran and I enjoyed it.”

McGill said she likes running the 100 better than the 200 because it’s a shorter distance. She said she usually scared before a race, but everything changes once the race starts.

“As soon as you hear the gun, all the adrenaline’s pumping and I just run the race,” McGill said.

McGill said she was surprised earlier in the season when she found out she had already qualified for the state meet, and now she’s focused on trying to add the 200 as well.

Even though she’s done a lot in her freshman season, McGill isn’t ready to slow down during the remainder of the season.

“My goal is to train harder and get better and try to qualify for states in the 200 if I can,” McGill said.

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com