Full Force

Alexis O’Mara puts her heart and soul into running


Emily Barnett

Alexis O’Mara (12) paces herself at the beginning of a race on the McNair course.

Emily Barnett, Reporter

Alexis O’Mara (11) started her running career the way most high schoolers start, in 8th-grade cross country. O’Mara was unaware of the sport of cross country until seventh grade.

“I know I was always that kid who took the pacer and mile very seriously, I got good mile times and really long pacers. I enjoyed it, and I was good,” O’Mara said.

Running was something that was never on O’Mara’s radar. She wanted to play hockey for the longest time. O’Mara looked up to her father who played hockey and wanted to be just like him. Luckily enough, she fell in love with running and it completely changed the course of her high school athletic career. 

O’Mara was a naturally talented runner from the start. She hopped on as a varsity cross country and track athlete her sophomore year. Her coaches Webster and Glavin were always helping her with her running mechanics, mental health, and speed.

“I excel more in track and I’m glad to be running on the 4×8 and 4×4 with some amazing and crazy fast people,” said O’Mara. 

O’Mara is passionate about a sport most people would dread participating in. Running supplies her with joy and satisfaction. In fact, the days she doesn’t run are the days she feels unhappy. Running keeps her on track and focused on her goals. “(…) and when that 8th-hour bell rings, I can’t wait to get down to Glavin’s [coach] room and get ready for the day [practice],” said O’Mara. 




O’Mara is supported by her team and family. The team has such a strong bond that they treat each other almost like a family.

“She does all the work in practice and doesn’t take the easy way out,” said her teammate Payton Grotewiel (10). No matter what, she can depend on her teammates to support her.

“We do little things such as saying ‘good job’ to one another even if we’re on an easy recovery run, or we just had an awesome race,” said O’Mara. Her family is proud to see her succeed and try her hardest. 

O’Mara is quickly approaching her senior year of high school and has taken time to prepare for her next steps academically and athletically. She has her mind on a couple of schools such as Missouri State, Rockhurst, Mizzou, and Lindenwood.

“My college career is solely based on my running career. Running is something very important to me and I want to go to the right college that can put me on the right path for my running career,” O’Mara said. 

There are a lot of misconceptions about the life of a runner. O’Mara believes that a lot of people don’t understand how hard and committed runners have to be. She has received a lot of backlash from other peers saying things like “oh you just run in a circle” and “Cross country isn’t even a sport.” At the end of the day, O’Mara never takes criticism to heart.

“But in the end, it’s all about dedication, I feel,” said O’Mara. You’ve got to put your heart and soul into it. You have to take care of yourself when it comes to eating, drinking, and sleeping. Dedication looks like getting up at 5 a.m. for meets or weekend workouts. You can’t worry about the things you can’t control like the weather, teams, or things you can’t control. O’Mara believes that you have to put the work in to achieve what you want.