Lauren Ilsley ’16 has notably represented the green and white in both cross country and track and field for all four years of her Deerfield career, and will be finishing her last season this spring. Ilsley excels in long distance events such as the 1,500 meter race and is actively involved in the development of running at DA.
As a graduating senior and a captain of this year’s team, Ilsley is focused on “trying to make sure the younger students appreciate the sport and take it seriously,” while also enjoying her final spring in the process.
Her sister Annie Ilsley ’18, who also runs track this year, said, “[Lauren’s] work ethic has led her to success in many ways, but what I admire even more is her positivity in any type of situation and her ability to put others before herself… her concern for others shows in her role as a leader on the team. Lauren is not just a role model for the younger runners, but a captain who values the success of her teammates as much as her own.”
Ilsley ’16 reflected back on her time here at Deerfield, saying, “It’s bittersweet to have finished my eighth season, but at the same time, it’s an accomplishment to have run for four years, and I feel like I am leaving the team in good hands.”
She credits her success at Deerfield to Dr. Cullinane, a powerful influence in her running development. She explained that, “He could take the most inexperienced freshman girl and turn her into a track and field star.”
As she looks back at her running career, she recalls one of her most memorable moments: this year’s Hunt Relays. She also remembers going to the Vermont River every Thursday, one of her favorite running traditions. She admitted that she’ll miss running along the scenic river, and enjoying the snacks Dr. Cullinane brings for the end of each of these “river runs.”
Ilsley ’18 explained, “One of the biggest struggles I have seen Lauren face in her running career has been a combination of difficulties with breathing and anemia… although these two issues are especially hard for a runner to face, Lauren has continued to run through them with a strong will to achieve her best despite the obstacles.”
As Ilsley moves on to the University of Richmond next year, she is considering walking on to the Division I track and cross country teams or at least running recreationally or at the club level.
As she spends her final few weeks at Deerfield, Ilsley remarked that she feels “sad to leave as a proctor and to leave [her] sister, the kids are on the team, and everyone at Deerfield.” She will miss representing Deerfield on the cross country course and on the track, but her strong, positive spirit will continue to influence the team in the future.