Photo courtesy Byron Beers-Tahlequah Daily Press
On the heels of claiming the silver medal with a runner-up finish at the Class 5A cross-country championships last October, Lily Couch entered the 2021 spring track season with a boost of confidence that a gold medal was within reach.
With a stellar performance at the regional meet where Couch qualified in the 800m and 1600m events with gold medal times, the confident Lady Tigers junior joined teammates McKenna Hood, Emma Maxwell and Tatum Havens to set the Class 5A standard in the 4x800m relay and helped Tahlequah’s 4x400m relay advance to the state championship competition in Ardmore.
“My individual results were the result of a team effort because my teammates push me to train and practice hard,” Couch said in appreciation. “Our coaches have taught me how to race smart.”
The season long preparation produced gold medal results on the Noble Stadium oval as Couch ran the first leg of the 4×800 relay and then shouted encouragement to the other three members resulting in a season’s best time of 9:58.35 for the first place finish and establish a new school record. Feeling the readiness, Couch also ran her best time of the spring to capture the second place silver medal in the 800m setting a new school record time of 2:22.97 along with the second place finish in the 1600m run.
“The demands of track are more mental than physical because you always have to maintain a positive attitude,” explained Couch. “It was really satisfying to have put in the work and then achieve the desired goals. Running allows me the opportunity to be competitive and make what I want done happen. Being passionate describes my personality as a whole.”
The achievements of Couch draw high praise from her coach.
“Lily is an exceptional young lady who is athletic, smart and with a great personality,” said Tahlequah girls coach Elzy Miller. “Her work ethic is tremendous often doing more work than required. She was the wheel that made our relay team go.”
The gold medal passion to be the best is further evidenced in the classroom where Couch, whose favorite subject is chemistry, maintains a 4.636 GPA.
So what’s the motivation for her success? The answer from Couch is simple as she follows her mother’s advice.
“Do what makes you happy, it’s the best advice I’ve ever heard,” Couch said with a smile. “I try hard to make others happy before I do myself. Mom reminds me my happiness is just as important.”
With a resume of gold medal success on the track and the classroom, there’s little doubt that those who know Lilly Couch are more than thrilled with the results and her example of character by inspiring others to reach their goals.
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