Shannon Rafferty first took up cross country as a freshman at C. Milton Wright to stay in shape for softball, which was her main sport. But everything changed for Rafferty after she started running.
Rafferty enjoyed running so much so that she decided to drop softball at the start of her sophomore year last fall. She helped the Mustangs win the Class 4A state title, and the junior now is C.M. Wright's top runner. In addition, Rafferty had a very successful season in outdoor track.
Talk about your decision to run cross country to stay in shape for softball when you were a freshman.
I [really] was worried about it at the time. I actually thought as a freshman that I'd have too much to do. I was a little stressed about how I'd get my work done, but my mom encouraged me to do it, and it all worked out fine.
Were you surprised at how quickly you found success in cross country and track?
I was very surprised. I had no idea, and I didn't expect to do as well as I did. I hadn't really run competitively before that.
What made you decide to give up softball and make running your main sport?
I found out that I didn't like softball as much as I thought I did. With softball, it was more like a job, and with running it was more fun. Everyone on the cross country team was so nice, and they were very welcoming and great to me.
How difficult was it to forget about softball and concentrate just on running?
Softball was such a big part of my life, but once I gave it up, I didn't miss it all that much.
How much fun was it to be a part of last year's Class 4A state title team?
It was awesome. It was such an amazing experience. I'd love to be able to do that again. It was kind of cool [for us] coming in as the underdog and then going on to win.
How much more pressure do you feel as a top runner on the defending state champion?
There's definitely a lot more pressure than there was last year. Last year, I was still trying to figure out where I was on the team. I know more of my capabilities this year and the other girls, they're improving so much, and I think our team is improving so much all across the board.
What is your favorite subject in school and what are you considering majoring in when you get to college?
Right now, I kind of like everything. I don't really know if I have a favorite subject. I like math and science and I like art, too. I'm really not sure what I want to major in in college, but I'm probably leaning in the science direction.
What are your goals going to be for running when you get to college in a few years?
If I find a college and they have a team where I could run on, that would be great. But if it doesn't work out, I would go to college to be a student and not a runner.
Is running harder because you got a later start than others did?
I don't really think so. It's different for everyone. Everyone has their own battles during the races.