Wellesley Athlete of the Week is made possible with sponsorship support from Deland, Gibson Insurance. The family-owned and operated business has carried on this Wellesley tradition for over 30 years.
Athlete of the Week: Lily Jin
Sport: Cross Country/Track and Field
Pump-Up Song: Salute by Little Mix or New Romantics by Taylor Swift
Favorite Class: Pre-Calculus
Siblings: Younger brother in seventh grade
Lily Jin started running in middle school, when after the mini marathon in sixth grade she realized she could run longer distances, and was fast as well. She soon joined the local Waltham Track Club, where she began running competitively.
“I didn’t even know competitive running was a thing,” she said, “but I really liked it so I continued on the middle school track and cross country teams and then at the high school.”
Last year, Jin made it to the All-State Championship during the outdoor track season in the mile race, which she cites as her greatest athletic accomplishment. Not only did she just participate, she came eleventh in the state with a 5:09 mile as just a freshman.
This year, the girls’ cross country team came third in the state with Jin as their top runner. Last year, as a freshman, Jin ran a blazing 19:44 5K, and this year, she set her sights even higher. She won the sophomore race by almost a minute at the highly competitive Twilight Invitational, came in third at the Bay State Conference Championship, won the Division 1B Championship, and came in sixth in the Division 1 All-State Championship, where she obliterated her previous personal record by more than a minute by finishing the 5K in 18:30.
Jin is a determined hard worker who gives 100% effort in every race and workout. “Crossing the finish line is the best part of running when you can see the culmination of all your hard work,” she said.
In addition to being a standout runner, Jin encapsulates what makes a great teammate. “My favorite aspect of running is the team element,” she said. “When you have a great team, that’s all that matters.”
Junior cross country captain Grace Wheelan sees Jin as a leader by example. “Lily is such a positive person to have on the team and comes to every single practice with a smile on her face. She works so hard consistently and inspires everyone around her to give 100% effort,” she said. “[Jin] also cares so deeply about every single one of her teammates and makes everyone feel like a valued part of the team.”
On meet days, Jin likes to eat a hearty and healthy breakfast filled with carbs and ride with her mom to the race. “I warm up with the team 45 minutes before the race and then I roll out and stretch. I make sure to triple tie my shoes and have everything prepared the night before to make sure my warmup goes smoothly” she said.
Outside of running, Jin likes reading, watching movies, spending time with friends, and taking walks.
Jin looks up to many “local legend” runners like Natick’s Grace Connolly, who now runs at Stanford, Holliston’s Carmen Luisi, and her friend Ellie Shea from Belmont. She hopes to continue running throughout her life, saying, “I hope to run competitively in college and someday, when I’m older, run the Boston Marathon. That’s a big goal of mine.”
Article written by The Bradford’s Caroline Thornton.