On October 31st, in freezing temperatures and with more than an inch of snow on the ground, Carly Rinko defeated all the other D1 female athletes in NH. Winning the individual title of D1 State Champ! Rinko is the first female cross country athlete from BHS to ever win a D1 State Title. The only other person in BHS history to have this title was Tristam Winship, an athlete from 2013, so this is clearly big news for BHS athletics and more importantly for Carly Rinko.
Rinko has been running cross country since 7th grade and has consistently been a top competitor. She has run on varsity since her freshman year and has earned herself an immensely respected role on the team. Rinko’s outstanding performances and positive mindset over the past four years have easily allowed her to become someone all the girls on the cross country team can look up to.
Rinko’s finish at the state meet only proves how fierce of a competitor she truly is. For the majority of the 5k race Rinko was not even in the top two leading spots. At the first mile of the race she was in about seventh place, and at the second mile she made her way to third place, yet still a good 30 seconds behind the leading runner. Rinko was able to pull out an incredible finish, passing the leading runner with only about 100 meters to go in the race securing her D1 title. Rinko admits that she “really did not think [she] could win until the final sprint to the finish.” Rinko describes how, “that was the moment where I decided to turn it on and see if I could catch her.”
Carly’s killer finish allowed her to pass two girls within the last minutes of the race, but what makes her finish even more impressive is that she was able to finish sprinting on New Hampshire’s most infamous course: Derryfield. Derryfield is simply not made for the weak, Rinko describes it as “an incredibly challenging course…[that] only gets harder from the start.” The heart of this course lies on a ski mountain with a start and finish on a grassy uphill. Rinko even states how she believes the course “is more mentally challenging than physically.” Clearly showing that her win came from a great amount of grit and perseverance. Rinko even states that although she was a bit surprised to win, “I always have confidence in myself”, a key factor in her victory.
Having been a teammate of Carly’s since 7th grade, I can say that her motivations go far beyond personal success and what makes her such an amazing competitor is that her true inspiration stems from her team. Her selfless mindset can be seen when asked about having any expectations going into the state meet. “I did not expect to win, but like every race I go into it hoping to do my personal best and the best for the team.” Rinko also adds that when crossing the finish line she “felt excited and grateful…but I could not wait to see how my teammates did.” Rinko’s team oriented mindset proves how valuable of a runner she truly is for the BHS cross country team.
Carly Rinko will definitely be missed next year but her future with running is definitely bright.
Click the video below to watch an interview with Carly right after winning the race!