She held her own against the vets!
16-year-old Sophia Gorriaran made history as the youngest runner at the Olympic Track and Field Trials, Blavity reports.
Gorriaran is a Rhode Island native who began running when she was just 3 or 4 years old. Her siblings formerly ran for track and field club Providence Cobras in Rhode Island. When Gorriaran was a toddler, she took to the family sport.
“I just wanted to run with my family, so I started going to practices when I was 3-and-a-half or 4,” Gorriaran said.
Coached by her father, Steve, a former football and track athlete at Brown University, the 16-year-old is being trained to go against the best, her father focusing on a solid work ethic that’s balanced with her teenage life.
“Talent means nothing without work ethic. It’d be a waste, in the end, to not use that talent,” Steve told reporters.
The teenager has raked up six Rhode Island state records and became a nationally ranked high school lacrosse player. This season was challenging because of her love for lacrosse and track and field; Gorriaran chose between the Lacrosse State Championships or Olympic Trials. She ended up selecting the trials, missing the opportunity to play alongside one of her final games with 18-year-old sister Natasha, but gaining something sweeter in return – the chance to make history.
At this year’s Olympic Track and Field Trials, Gorriaran was the youngest athlete to run at the event. Four days after her 16th birthday, Gorriaran showed up in Eugene, Oregon, and competed against veterans like silver medalist Raevyn Rogers, NCAA national Stanford champ Olivia Baker, and former 2016 Rio Olympian Kate Grace.
While Gorriaran didn’t make Tokyo, she did show up and show out, trailing behind at the beginning of the race, to finish strong at the end. She came in fourth out of eight runners with a time of 2:02.26.
“I didn’t talk to too many people. I don’t think too much about being with [the pros], but it’s cool to be on the start line with them. It was so professional. It was nice to have this experience at such a young age…I would say I’m satisfied. I was hoping for a better time but maybe next year,” Gorriaran said.
The rising junior placed 19th overall and plans to do it all over again very soon. She’s looking to earn a bid to compete at Nike Cross Nationals or the Foot Locker Cross Country Championships. She’ll begin her current season with Rhode Island’s Injury Fund before dual race meets and the Ocean State invitational just before the champion season begins. She’s also looking to compete at the track and field world championships in Oregon next summer with a strong run for Olympic Trials again in 2024.
Photo Courtesy of @sophia_gor/Aisha McAdams/Instagram