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Getting to know Golden Eagle distance runner Peri Winborne


Interview by Gabriella Farley, TTU Sports Information Student Assistant

Senior Peri Winborne is rounding out her career in distant running as a member of the Tennessee Tech Track & Field team this spring. This weekend Winborne and the Golden Eagles head to the Ohio Valley Conference Indoor Championships.

During the 2013 cross country season, Winborne finished second on the squad at both Vanderbilt and Evansville. Her cross country 2013-14 season-best time was 19:45:43 at Jacksonville State. Over four years, she ran in 24 meets during the fall seasons. She has run the 3,000- and 5,000-meter events during the indoor season, and has run both of those events, plus the 3,000-meter steeplechase and 10,000-meter during the outdoor seasons.

She is the daughter of Steve and Joanie Winborne, and is majoring in secondary education with an emphasis in history.

We recently sat down with Peri and asked her a few questions about her Tech career...

When and why did you start competitive running?
I started in 7th grade which makes it about 10 years of running competitively. I was introduced to this sport in elementary school when they would have days dedicated to track and field. When we had to do the mile, I’d pretty much beast it up. The coaches at my school would go up to my mom and insist that I compete when I get to middle school.

Also, I have an older brother and he did cross country when he was in seventh grade. I, of course, had to do everything he did, but I stuck with it while he didn’t. 

Why did you choose Tech?
I was getting offers from different colleges and viewing different schools and then when I visited Tech I loved the campus and really connected with the coach. I met some of the girls who were on the team and they were super nice. Tech just felt like this is where I belong. I wasn’t looking for a program that was too intense. I wanted to focus on running, yet also have a good balance between school and sports. 

What will you take away from being a Tech student-athlete?
Managing time is the biggest one. It has helped me develop as a leader because you have to work with your coach, build up your teammates, and there’s a lot of responsibility on you. There’s no one babying you in telling you when and how long you need to run. You are doing it all on your own, so this requires the ability to manage your time well and balance school work with running while also finding time for yourself. Especially this semester because I am student-teaching at Monterey High School. I go straight from teaching all day to practice, then to planning the next day's lesson.

What’s your favorite thing about being with the Tech track team?
I love my teammates more than anything. They are my best friends. I always said that when coming to college, I already had a group of friends that thankfully transitioned into being my family away from home. I’m really going to miss them as well as my coach whenever the season ends because he took on a father figure for the team.

Who has been the most positive influence in your track career?
My parents get full credit in motivating me to keep going, especially when I’m at my low points. Because I have been running competitively for the last 10 years, my body has merely become tired. They encourage me to not give up. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

My coach always encourages the team to “look at the big picture” rather than sweat the small stuff in life. I will be carrying this advice with me even after I finish my season here. 

What is the most memorable moment you’ve had thus far?
Last year we had a track race at Vanderbilt where Becca (Forbes) was in a higher heat then all of us and she broke 18 minutes. This was a big deal because none of us have ever done that. We were all so pumped up and excited for her. Following this, all of us PR’d and I broke 19 minutes which was also a big deal because I’ve never done that either. Up until this point, it was the race of my life. It was a really sweet moment because as I finished the race, I found out that the rest of my teammates beat their times, as well. All in all, it was just a great race for all of us.