JHS Cross Country Runner will join the UF team

(Courtesy of Jim Agnew)

WILLIAMSBURG — Caroline Bauer, a cross country runner for Jamestown High School (JHS), is already preparing for her upcoming competitive season at the University of Florida (UF).

The JHS student-athlete decided to pursue her athletic career by racing at the next level as a Florida Gator.

“I did a lot of tours, and when I was at the University of Florida, I loved the coaches,” Caroline said. “I loved the region and I felt like I could really flourish academically and sportingly there.”

Caroline’s interest in the sport began at an early age when she started swimming for the Coast Guard Blue Dolphins. In eighth grade, she suffered a shoulder injury, but that did not stop her from wanting to compete and being active in sports competitions. So she decided to join cross-country coach Mark Tompkins of JHS’s running club called the Great Williamsburg Distance Running Club.

“I ended up really liking it and was strongly considering joining cross country as a rookie and then I did. I ended up liking it,” Caroline said. “I was doing it to stay in shape for swimming, but I fell in love with the sport. Then, in first grade, I decided to go all-in for running.

Caroline found her passion in running. She competed with her JHS teammates on the school’s Cross County team and the Outdoor Track team. The runner remembers her experience as a JHS student-athlete as the best four years of her life.

The cross country competitor said winning regionals with her teammates in her sophomore, junior and senior years are team moments that will stay with her forever.

“She’s an incredible athlete having fun,” said Coach Tompkins. “She creates little traditions that have never existed in the team before. She’s a natural leader just because of her work ethic.

The future Gator also achieved a personal goal this year when she went to compete in Huntsville, Alabama to run one last race with the cross country team. Caroline went there with a personal goal of finishing with a time of less than 17 minutes. She finished the race with 4:54 marked on the clock.

“I just remember I really wanted to break that 17-minute barrier and I spoke to Coach on the phone the night before, and we just had a plan, and we were ready,” Caroline said. “It was the whole vibe, and I was racing against a lot of my friends. I just remember finishing the race and seeing the time on the clock. It was a very emotional final race, but it was really exciting for me.

As she prepares for a new season, with a new team, she is confident that the seniors have successfully passed the torch to the next JHS team.

“We have a young team at the moment, but I’m very confident to leave the team in good hands. We have a few juniors who are super nice girls and are already team leaders with me,” Caroline said. “So I feel like I’m passing the torch, but it’s going to be even better. I’m a little sad not to be there, but I’ll definitely be back, and watching and cheering on my sister and all of my other teammates when I get back.

Caroline is considering attending UF’s pre-physiotherapy program and is looking forward to running with her new team.

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