Tolland’s Sprout is TheSportsDept.com Female Athlete of the Year

Tolland’s Katy Sprout is a champion.

She’s actually a champion several times over.

With titles in state meets, state open meets, regional meets and team titles to boot, the recent graduate has had a lot of success during her four-year career as an Eagle.

“I think my three consecutive years as the state open 300 hurdle champion would be one of my proudest accomplishment,” Sprout, who currently holds seven school records, said. “Also placing sixth at Nationals a couple weekends ago in 400 hurdles. Also getting the state record in that event.”

It’s likely that had the reigning New England champ continued to think, she would have thought of several more accomplishments. And why not? She is one of the most decorated sprinters in recent memory.

“Probably my sophomore year at Tolland,” Sprout said, looking back at when she first knew she was good enough to fill a trophy case, “I broke the school record by a lot. I was so young and it opened up that I could be successful and go far even as a sophomore.”

Running track can be a lonely endevor, with a bevy of opponents and the unforviging clock to contend with, and only ones self to rely on. But through hard work, repitition and slicing fractions of a second off a finely coreographed half-minute sonata on the pavement, Sprout has honed her craft better than anyone in the state of Connecticut.

“I think the biggest thing is,” Sprout said, “no matter how big the race, is I just tell myself it’s the same race I’ve done over and over again. If I tell myself I’m prepared enough, I shouldn’t be too nervous. I should just go out there and have fun with it.”

For Sprout, the act of running track isn’t completely solo. After posting the best time of the day in her hurdle event, the Eagles’ captain has an entire team excited to congratulate her.

“My team is so close,” Sprout said. “We have so much fun together. We really push each other a lot, we are very competitive, but we want to make each other better. We won state the past two years and were runners up the year before that. We are probably one of the strongest teams we’ve been in along time. We won our conference three out of four years. We’ve won a lot of invitationals together, it goes on and on.”

With the support of her teammates to lean on, Sprout is also thankful for a mentor and tutor of a coach in Corey Bernier.

“I think my coach,” Sprout said, “he’s so knowledgable about track, I don’t know how he does it, but somehow he just knows everything. Early in the spring when I hurt my foot I had such big goals, New England’s, State Opens, I wasn’t sure how I would fare when June came. But he knew all along that maybe it could make me stronger. He’s motivational and kept me together the whole time. I see it with everyone else, too, he can just push people. He gives them that extra kick and that extra drive.”

All of Sprout’s hard work has paid off, as her stellar academic performance paired with elite work on the athletic field has earned her the opportunity to attend Dartmouth in the fall.

“Academically its a great school I’m hoping to use that to my advantage and set myself for a great future,” Sprout said of her Ivy League decision. “The track team and track coach really drew me to the school. The coach, she’s very passionate, she seems very knowledgable and very supportive of me during the application process and throughout my season. I’m going to just see how it goes and work from there.”

Sprout also closed an important chapter in her life at Tolland, and will carry the memories with her to her new life as a college star.

“I think just being able to look back at my four years at Tolland,” Sprout said, “it’s pretty crazy to look back at it now. I have so many memories when I was in the moment, and I have great memories to look back at whether it’s track or school events. Being a graduate, I learned a lot over my four years and I’m excited to apply it now to real life.”

Honorable mention: Emily Quail, Fermi, Rachel Kaliff, Enfield, Amanda Jacobsen, Stafford, Kayla Renauld, Somers, Melissa Wabble, East Windsor.

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