CROSS RIVER, N.Y. – Senior Clodagh McGroary is co-captain of John Jay’s cross country team. She came in first place at the Somers Big Red Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 8, with a 5K time of 19:57.

When and how did you first get started in cross country?

I joined the cross country team my sophomore year after running indoor and outdoor track as a freshman. I always played soccer in the fall but my coach, Tom Nohilly, was able to convince me to make the switch.

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What do you enjoy most about running for John Jay?

The most enjoyable aspect is that we are such a tight-knit team. Unlike other sports, both boys and girls cross country teams compete at the same venue on the same day. I find that our school is the best at supporting and cheering our teammates on.

What’s your favorite memory running cross country?

My favorite memory is being on the winning New York State [championship] team in 2018 and my second favorite is being runner up last year. It would be amazing to make it back to the state meet and compete for the championship title again!

Who inspires you the most?

I’m so lucky to have the best teammates and coaches who inspire me to do better every day. We have amazing parent support at every race. The parents also organize a team pasta dinner every Friday night before a race, where all the athletes are able to bond and carbo-load before our races!

What are your plans after high school?

My plan after high school is to run at an NCAA Division I college. I am currently being recruited and I’m excited to see where I will be next fall. I am still undecided with my intended major for college.

How do you get motivated for a meet?

Before every race we listen to music as a team, which really hypes everyone up. We also huddle up together right before the start of each race and now that I’m a senior, my co-captain and I give a pre-race motivational speech, which is exactly what everyone needs to get them into racing mode.

Favorite place to eat locally?

My favorite place to eat locally is the Blazer Pub. Their french fries are the best!

What’s your favorite place to visit on vacation?

My favorite place to visit on vacation is Ireland. I travel there every August with my family to spend time with all my relatives where I compete in an annual local 5K race. It’s great because my Irish family cheers me on!

What’s something about yourself people would be surprised to learn?

SI am a third-degree black belt in TaeKwonDo. I am also an Instructor and teach TaeKwonDo as a job.

What’s the go-to app on your phone?

Snapchat. It’s the best way to communicate and see what your friends are up to.

What’s your favorite TV show to binge?

There’s not much time to watch TV, but I really enjoy watching sports. I will watch any sport but in particular I love to watch ice hockey and Gaelic football.

What advice would you give to a younger athlete at John Jay?

My advice would be to not be afraid to try new things. I went from soccer to running and found my passion by trying out new things.