A to Z with Brittney Olinger

Oak Hall senior Brittney Olinger has been running on the Eagles' varsity cross country team since seventh grade and has been named The Sun's Runner of the Year four times.

Erica Brough/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, September 13, 2013 at 8:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 9:20 p.m.

SCHOOL: Oak Hall

YEAR: Senior


HEIGHT: 5-foot-8

Area cross country runners I enjoy running against and watching: My girl teammates are all so talented and have great things ahead of them, but I never get to watch them because I'm always racing with them. Austin Perry is also a very driven runner, and I think he'll have a great season. Joseph Janson and the Pelegrina twins of PKY are always great competitors.

Best movie I've ever seen: “Pride and Prejudice” and “Step Brothers.”

Coach Edwin McTureous' best words of advice for me: He has been great at keeping the pressure minimal. He always tells us to take care of our job and just go race. We've had a lot of successes in this program, but he is never intense about races. He really wants us to love running, and I think that has made all the difference for us.

Distance runners are better than sprinters because ... I don't think we are. I think we are just a different breed of runner.

Eating habits during the cross country and track and field season: Eat everything in sight. Nothing is safe. I eat a lot of protein and fruit and drink lots of water.

Florida Gators cross country and track & field is ... Loaded with talented runners. They always have a great team.

Grace Blair, my teammate is ... So talented, she is an incredible teammate, has a really great future ahead of her in cross country and track. She is like a little sister to me and is smart and artistic on top of all her athletic accomplishments.

How do you feel you have progressed as a runner on the varsity team since you were in seventh grade? I feel as I've gained experience that I have gotten smarter as a runner. I learned that there is a lot more to the sport than just running. There are a lot of little things that end up being the big things in the long run. Like drinking a lot of water and getting a lot of sleep.

Interesting thing about me away from cross country and track & field: I am a masterful four-leaf clover finder. Twenty and counting.

Joker on the team: Talia Carlson and Austin Perry. Talia is always making a smile and keeps everything really light and fun. Austin is just hilarious. I think he is the only person in Oak Hall cross country history who has ever told on himself and was put into timeout during practice.

Key to my success, having been a first-team all-area selection since the 7th grade, The Sun's Runner of the Year four straight years and part of the school's first state title in cross country in 2012? Sleep, water and hundreds of miles over the summer (600 this past summer). I also have great teammates and coaches who have pushed and supported me along the way.

Least favorite Oak Hall cross country and track & field moment: Losing the state championship by three points my sophomore year. Everything that could have gone wrong did that day. But it lit a fire under us for the next season.

Mountain Dew competition at UF's Bostick Golf Course on Saturday will be ... A very big race. There are a ton of teams, and I'm really excited to see how we stack up to the competition there.

Nike, Reebok, New Balance, Adidas, Asics or other running shoes? Asics for training, Saucony for cross country spikes and Nike for track and field spikes. I dabble.

One person who inspires me most: My family is my biggest source of support. My parents have taught me that I can achieve anything if I work hard, make smart choices and lead by example. Outside of my family, coach (John) Perlette has been a constant source of inspiration and guidance in high school as a coach, teacher and mentor.

Pre-race ritual: We try to keep things really light, because races can become intense. We do a silly dance at the line right before the race and rub Talia's belly for good luck.

Quiet-time activity: Studying.

Reaching my senior year at Oak Hall, my goals are ... I would love to bring home another state championship with my team. And have as stress-free of a year as possible.

Seeing the finish line at the end of a grueling race is ... One of the best feelings ever. That line can't come fast enough.

Twitter or Facebook? Facebook. I don't have a Twitter.

Universities or colleges considering: Academics are my top priority, so finding a school that fits well with what I want to study is key. I have visited and met with the coaches at Wake Forest University, Columbia University and the University of Chicago. But as of now I am undecided. I plan to take my official visits after cross country season.

Vacation spot I love: Montego Bay, Jamaica. It is so pretty.

Watching my sister Katie Grace pitch on the Oak Hall softball is ... Intimidating. She is an incredible athlete. I would not want to be catching or hitting any of her pitches. I'm really proud of how hard she works and how much she's accomplished at 14 years old.

Note: Katie Grace made first team all-area as a softball pitcher last season as an eighth-grader.

Xbox, PlayStation or Wii? None, I never really got into video games.

Year I was born: 1996.

Zoo animal I like most: Duckbill platypus. It's like three animals in one.

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