Erin McGill Runs Right Past Adversity

By Danny Atkinson 

Glastonbury High’s Erin McGill has made a remarkable leap forward this school year, as reflected in her performances at championship events and major meets. The skills and work ethic that have allowed McGill to emerge as a cross country and track and field standout are clearly admired by her coaches and teammates.

After serving as a key member of the Tomahawks powerhouse track program last spring, McGill decided to participate in cross country this past season. It was a wise choice. McGill developed into one of the team’s stars, and was outstanding at major meets. But just when McGill was hitting her stride, a sudden respiratory ailment made it difficult for her to finish at the Class LL cross country championship. The same condition prevented her from finishing at the State Open as she collapsed near the finishe line.

Doctors attributed the problem to a combination of asthma and diet. McGill’s doctors in conjunction with her coaches and family put together a comprehensive medical and diet plan and it has paid dividends.

McGill has remained healthy throughout the indoor track season and her star has continued to rise.

At the CCC Conference Championships on January 28th, she won the 1600 meters in a time of 5:16.66. This was despite it being only the second time McGill officially competed in the 1600 meters. McGill was also a member of the 4×400 and medley relay team that won in 4:03.23.

Glastonbury won the team title easily.

“I was definitely pleased with my performance in the 1600 at the conference championships,” McGill said. “I was able to keep a good pace with the other top runners and then put in an extra kick at the end to get momentum and separate myself from others. That was an example of effort I’ve made to always keep momentum and energy during races and not lose my concentration.”

McGill admits her concentration was challenged following her medical ordeal but she never lost faith and never stopped working.

“After not finishing well at the (cross country) championships, I was worried and discouraged,” McGill said. “I just tried to work my hardest to get stronger each day, and I give a ton of credit to coach (Brian) Collins and my parents for the help they I have given me. I certainly feel stronger now then I did a few months ago.”

Collins said McGill’s work ethic was inspirational as she battled to regain her health and form as a runner.

“It was very tough to see what happened to Erin, but she worked her hardest to get back up to full strength, which shows how special she is,’’ Collins said. “A lot of runners would give up after having something like that occur, but Erin always stayed calm. I’m just glad we were able to put successful plans in place for maintaining her health. Her work ethic and drive is incomparable, and its allowed her to make the bigger improvements from when she initially started until now than probably any runner I’ve coached.’’

McGill finished third in the 1600 at the Class LL championships with a time of 5:12.34, placing behind Katelyn Romanchick of Trumbull and Emily Philippides of Greenwich. She exceeded her seeding time by more than four seconds.

“I was pleased with my championship performance. I was able to keep my energy and focus up the whole time and run the speeds I wanted, I just ultimately couldn’t keep up with the other girls,” McGill said. “I performed better than I thought I would entering the race.”

McGill and her 4 x 400  teammates – Danielle Brinckman, Olivia Allen, Morocca Wiley – turned in a  winning time of 4:02.43 at the Class LL meet. In the 4 x 800 event, McGill and her teammates Wiley, Kaylen Hughes, Allen – finished first with a time of 9:32.57. That same 4 x 800 team also participated in the prestigious Armory Invitational earlier in the season, and is ranked as one of the best in the entire country. At the Invitational, McGill ran her best 800 time ever.

“We are all skilled at certain things, and are pushing one another to have fun and get better. I know those girls have taught me a lot and helped me improve. It’s nerve-racking to run sets in those relays, but also very exciting,” McGill said.

“They are a great group that works very cohesively,” Collins said. “By working together and learning from one another both as a team and in practice, each girl has helped the others become much better than they could be on their own.”

“My improvement and growth has come from seeing the success teammates have had and my love of running,” McGuirl said. “I want to consistently get better, and that means trying my hardest no matter what. ‘’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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