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Nicole Marco continues to put her all into running

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“Sports definitely is [a family thing],” sophomore Nicole Marco said of her runner parents. “From a young age we had to pick a sport, and [my parents] tried to get us to run, but we didn’t have to.”

With that type of familial foundation, Nicole has always been involved with athletics, trying out a multitude of different sports. But only one sport truly captured her interest, come middle school.

“I did Girls on the Run in elementary school, but then I started on an actual team in seventh grade for both [track and cross country],” Nicole said.

Running quickly became an influential passion of Nicole’s as she joined the middle school track and cross country teams. Transitioning into high school, the running teams became the forefront of Nicole’s high school experience.

“It’s definitely one of the things I look forward to about high school,” Nicole said. “My parents did both [track and cross country] too, so they kind of convinced me to participate in it, and I enjoy it a lot.”

Through her four seasons of high school running, Nicole has accumulated a myriad of lessons and skills that apply both on and off the track.

“I’ve gained more teamwork,” Nicole said, “and I’ve gained mental strength and how to work together and leadership skills.”

In addition, Nicole has learned to balance her thorough involvement with running with her schoolwork.

“[Running] also has helped me a lot with time management because I don’t have much time to do my homework and stuff,” Nicole said. “So I go home and get it done [right away].”

Beyond personal improvements, running has also allowed Nicole to reach a wide variety of fellow Rangers that she otherwise wouldn’t have met– something that was especially helpful when she first entered high school as a freshman.

“I’ve made a lot of friends,” Nicole said. “I have more friends from different grades; coming into high school, I was mostly only friends with people from my grade, but I’ve become friends with a lot of juniors, now seniors, and freshmen.”

But though Nicole has continued to nurture a fiery passion for the sport, she remains unsure about how her running career will pan out after high school.

“Right now, I’m just running as hard as I can,” Nicole said. “I think I’m going to decide [if I want to run in college] junior or senior year.”

Aside from running, Nicole also occupies her time with the violin, something she’s been playing for nine years.

“My neighbor was a high schooler when I was in first grade,” Nicole said, “so she wanted to teach me how to play the violin.”

As such, she has pursued the violin ever since. Since sixth grade, she has been a part of the school orchestra. After five years with FHC’s orchestra program, Nicole still loves the class and is excited to remain in orchestra through her senior year.

“I like the atmosphere of the class,” Nicole said. “I like how laid back it is and how all my friends are in it. I just feel really comfortable in there.”

However, Nicole wasn’t always so sure that she’d stay in orchestra. Originally, she continued taking the class for the VPAA credit. But, now, because of the relationships she has forged with new friends and orchestra director Andrew Pool, she couldn’t imagine quitting.

“I really enjoy knowing how to play an instrument and the way it sounds,” Nicole said. “Also a little bit of [why I stayed in orchestra] was to get the school credit freshman year. But now I’ve made a lot of friends in the class, and I love Mr. Pool.”

Nevertheless, the violin is still a hobby that takes a backseat to running, despite how much Nicole appreciates playing.

“I enjoy playing, but I wouldn’t come home and practice for hours on end,” Nicole said. “I’d practice a few days a week and get better, but it’s not something I’m as passionate about as I am about running… It’s a hobby. I do it for fun more than to improve.”

Indeed, running has grown to become a practical lifeline for Nicole– an unwavering and fulfilling constant of her life.

“It’s been part of my life for a long time, so I don’t even remember a time before running,” Nicole said. “But I love doing it so I like doing something I love.”

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Nicole Marco continues to put her all into running