BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - In a week's time, Gov. Livingston junior Caroline Mondelli shaved 40 seconds off her 5,000 M cross country time at the Union County Conference Championships and County Championships, finishing with a personal best time of 21:08. 

Despite struggling through a difficult race, she is a constant strong performer and leads by example, said head coach Tom Coughlin. 

Mondelli also runs the 1,600 and 3,200 in both Winter and Spring Track and Field.

Sign Up for Mountainside Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

She has been a three season distance runner since her freshman year.  For her dedication, leadership and consistency, Caroline Mondelli is named  Valairco Heating and Cooling Highlander Athlete of the Week.

The following are comments from Caroline about her past, present and future:

TAPinto: What has your largest accomplishment been in Cross Country and Indoor/Outdoor Track and Field? Do you have a meet that stands out as a favorite?

Caroline: Individually the meet that stands out most for me was indoor counties my freshmen year. I ran both the 1600 and 3200 and placed second in both events. We also placed second as a team which made the meet more memorable. 

TAPinto: What is the biggest difference in how you approach training and performance since freshman year till now?

Caroline: Freshmen year I was a bundle of nerves and nerves sometimes make it hard focus on specific training. Working along side my team mates and my coaches I developed bonds and friendships. The support from everyone has allowed me to relax and be more focused. 

TAPinto: Do you have a special routine or superstition before you run?

Caroline: I am very regimented with my workout schedule. I try not to embrace too many rituals or superstition because if I don’t follow through with them it would be a mental mind game that believing it would affect my performance. 

TAPinto: What is your favorite High School memory?

Caroline: My favorite high school track memory was when the girls cross country team won sectionals my freshmen year. I was new to the team but I knew we never won sectionals before and I knew we were the underdogs for winning. We really pulled together and worked as a team supporting one another every step of the way. It truly bonded us as a team. 

TAPinto: Do you plan to compete in college? Where are you going to college and what do you plan to study?

Caroline: I would love to continue running in college. It had become such a part of my life as to where I am planning on going to school. I am only a junior so I luckily have a little more time to think about that. 

TAPinto: What advise have you given to the younger athletes on the team this season, and what advice did you find most helpful when you were an underclassman?

Caroline: Many times when people think of track they think of it as an individual sport. When I began track as an underclassman more than any advice, I was most inspired by the camaraderie of my teammates. Their support and encouragement helped me throughout my seasons. I hope I am as opening and welcoming now that I am an upperclassman.  

TAPinto: Who is your role model? Who is your favorite professional athlete?

Caroline: I am going to jump -- my favorite athletes and role model together. Jalen Hurts, the once Alabama now Oklahoma quarterback, represents not only all an athlete should be but all a person should be. Hurt’s athleticism and drive is matched only by his grace and professionalism. 

TAPinto: What do you enjoy doing when not training or competing?

Caroline: I spend a lot of my free time like most teenagers with my friends. It’s nice to just relax with friends and not think about the pressure of school. I also foster dogs who are wanted to be adopted. Playing with the dogs is another fun way to unwind and relax. 

_____________________________________

Valairco Heating & Cooling is the proud sponsor of the Highlander Athlete of the Week. Kevin McHugh, Valairco Owner and President and Berkeley Heights resident, is an alumni of Gov. Livingston High School.

Valairco Heating & Cooling is celebrating 50 years in business. They are family owned and operated and know that keeping your HVAC systems running smoothly is important to the comfort of our customers, their families, and their guests. That is why their family is dedicated to taking care of yours, no matter what the issue may be. Using only top-quality parts to perform a higher-standard of service and all their services are backed by their 50 years of professional experience and 5-year comprehensive warranties. This means that when you call our team at Valairco, you benefit from their total commitment to your complete satisfaction.