Athlete of the Week: Chiara Dailey is off to a strong start in her first cross country season at La Jolla High

Chiara Dailey, a freshman at La Jolla High School, got off to an explosive start in her 10-year running plan.

In her first season on the Vikings cross country team, the 14-year-old placed first in the Ravens Fleet Feet Cross Country Invitational at Canyon Crest Academy at Pacific Highlands Ranch in September and recorded a “outstanding” weather in a victory at the Mount SAC (Mount San Antonio College) Cross Country Invitational in Los Angeles County in October.

According runmtsac.com, Chiara is the first runner since 2017 to complete the hilly 2.93-mile Mont SAC race in less than 17 minutes. She finished in 4:58 p.m.

“Running has always come naturally to me, Chiara told the La Jolla Light. “I’ve always been a very competitive person. For me, a race is the ultimate competition. I’m motivated not only to race against other people, but also to push myself.

Her parents, Adam and Jessica, were American NCAA runners at one time, so a love of racing might be in her genes, Chiara said.

However, her parents wanted her to wait to compete.

“My dad says you have 10 years of peak performance because running can be tiring on your body, Chiara said. “They didn’t want me to burn out. So I started this year, which has always been my plan.

This plan includes intense workouts to stay in shape, as well as researching her top competitors to determine how she can move forward and develop a strategy.

At the Mount SAC race, she identified her best competitor and “stayed close to her for the first two miles, then broke away at the end” to win.

“I’ve always been a very competitive person. For me, a race is the ultimate competition. I’m motivated not only to race against other people, but also to push myself.

—Chiara Dailey

“At the start of a race, I’m always very nervous,” said Chiara. “But I’m thinking about what I need to do to execute my plan. During a race, there can be physical pain and there is also a mental aspect because it can be really tiring. But I’m taking it one step at a time. I remind myself that the pain is temporary and I imagine the happiness that will come if I continue.

“The pain is gone the second you cross the finish line. That’s the best feeling.

Chiara said competition is the main thing she loves about running. “Running is more individual than other sports,” she said. “I also like to win, so at the end when I win, I like that feeling.”

She said she was proud of her achievement at Mount SAC. “I put a lot of work into it and I love being able to look back on that. It’s really cool.”

Chiara said her “big goal” for the future is to win a state championship and she wants the La Jolla team to win the CIF title this year. She said she intended to run all through high school, but hadn’t decided on going to college.

In her free time, she enjoys playing with her four younger brothers and cooking with her family. “When I’m busier than usual, it’s fun to cook dinner and do normal things,” she said.

La Jolla Athlete of the Week features athletes from all high school sports (La Jolla High, The Bishop’s School, La Jolla Country Day School) and other local youth sports. We are looking not only for competitive stars, but also for student-athletes who set an example of teamwork, academic achievement and/or community involvement. Please email your nominations, along with a way to contact your nominees, to Editor Rob Vardon at [email protected]

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