The Champlin Park girls cross-country team experienced heavy turnover after the end of the 2016 season.
With many of the team’s top runners having graduated, Sarina Lindell was left as the team’s lone top returning runner from the 2016 campaign.
“This summer was a challenge for me, because our whole varsity team was filled with seniors last year,” Lindell said. “This summer I had to try to learn to run on my won and have my own motivation with, I still have great teammates now, but without runners that were faster than me.”
While adding leadership abilities would be a tough task for most, Lindell said the transition into one of the team’s captains was seamless for her.
“It’s all pretty natural, for me. I’m a natural-born leader,” Sarina Lindell said. “I love being a leader, so, as the oldest on the team, it’s easy for me to be a leader and I have grown up that way, being the oldest of three girls.”
As a team captain, Lindell is tasked with helping many of the team’s younger runners develop. One of those runners happens to be Lindell’s younger sister, Emily.
“It’s really nice, she gives me someone to strive to go and beat,” Emily Lindell said. “I think it’s really fun, because even when we’re not at practice we are still motivating each other to live so that we’re good runners and so we can do well in the races.”
While the two weren’t close when they were younger, they credit cross-country for helping them develop a closer bond.
“Running has definitely helped us become closer friends,” Sarina Lindell said. “Having those long nine-mile run talks was great.
“When we were younger we hated each other, but, I would say about three years ago, we started getting really close and it has stayed like that since.”
Despite their friendship, the Lindell sisters remain competitive during meets. While Sarina has often finished first among the two over the last couple of years, Emily has beaten her older sister at times.
“There have been races where I have been slower and Emily is faster,” Sarina Lindell said. “There’s nothing that motivates you more than having your own sister coming up behind you, especially your younger sister.”
Emily, when she wins, enjoys seeing her sister’s reaction.
“It’s super fun, I like making her mad,” Emily Lindell said. “It’s OK when she wins, and I think it’s fine when I win, it’s good either way.
“I know she is super-close, but I have a little bit to get closer to her. I always have my eye on where she is and I’m always trying to get closer to her.”
With the 2017 season close to wrapping up, the Lindell sisters hope to be able to carry the Rebels to a high finish in the upcoming section meet. Sarina also has an individual goal in mind: to make it to state.
“I don’t know if it will happen, but I hope to push with that in mind,” Sarina Lindell said.
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