By Kyle Roberts
Good Ol’ Rocky Top will soon be home sweet home for Ruston High star runner Lily Garrett.
The senior cross country star announced her commitment to run at the collegiate level at the University of Tennessee for the Lady Volunteer cross country team.
“I believe that (UT head coach Sean) Carlson and his staff are building what’s going to be a nationally ranked team and potentially top in the nation,” Garrett said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for me to chase my running dream on the collegiate level.”
Garrett cited the family-feel of the UT runners and staff as a top reason for committing to the program.
“I love the girls on the team,” Garrett said. “The team feels like a family and is very goals focused, which is something I wanted. The runners were super sweet and made me feel welcome.”
Ruston High head coach Dustin Cochran spoke to his excitement for Garrett’s future and her growth as a runner.
“Ruston High has had so many good distance runners throughout the years, but none of them have run as fast as she has,” Cochran said. “She has come such a long way as a runner. She is a two-time state champion and six-time all-state runner. She holds the fourth fastest time in Louisiana history over two miles.”
Cochran added that her commitment to improvement and to training show what a terrific teammate she has been to the rest of the program.
“What’s more important than the athletic achievements is the fact that she has developed into a great young woman,” Cochran said. “This is just the beginning for her as well as us. We believe the next person can take inspiration from Lily and be even better. That is really what it is all about. Leave your legacy and pass it down to the next person.”
Hard work and commitment have certainly paid off for Garrett. Now UT will get to benefit from her presence as she chases her dream.
“I’ve always had big dreams in running, but i never imagined running at a school like Tennessee,” Garrett said. “Not until last year did I realize I could be good at this. It’s a dream come true to run at an SEC school.”