Athlete of the Week September 19th - Grace Casagrande of Cardinal Mooney

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SARASOTA - Running, running, and more running. Such is the life of a cross country runner. Thus far into this new season, Cardinal Mooney's Grace Casagrande has run better than most.

In a sport as monotonous as long distance runner, the will to win is often the great separator. Casagrande has what many winning athletes possess: determination. "She has just got incredible heart. She is just so determined. Every day she brings 110 percent," says Cougars cross country coach Christi MacDonald.

“Especially in the last half-mile of the race I can just grind it out. I can push it out at the end," says Casagrande.

The senior had the best time out of anyone on the Suncoast in last week's meets, almost a full minute better than the next best time. "The first 2 years I used to get so stressed before the race. I used to look at the race with dread before my race because of the pain of the 5k. This year I just looked at it like I would enjoy it. I would go out there, push it, and enjoy running," says Casagrande.

She has been at this for a few years now at Mooney, and her legacy will partly be visible in the team’s success over the next few seasons. "This year we have 27 kids and its largely because of what Grace has done and some of the other kids," says MacDonald.

“Just knowing it’s my last year and we have a lot of new runners that are just starting to learn…just teaching them, it’s awesome."

Congratulations to Grace Casagrande. She is our ABC 7 Athlete of the Week.