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Cross country: Churchill siblings looking to add to family legacy

Both qualified for state for first time in 2021

Rose Churchill, left, and her brother Tim pose for a photo before a recent training run at the school. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
Rose Churchill, left, and her brother Tim pose for a photo before a recent training run at the school. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
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The endurance in running that a soccer player gains over the years typically doesn’t translate to more than just being able to last 80 or 90 minutes on the pitch. But at least in soccer, one can manage a few huffs and puffs without actually moving the feet when the opportunity presents itself.

For Tim and Rose Churchill, the background in the beautiful game has parlayed into success on the stamped paths and asphalt track surfaces enjoyed by cross country runners — only there’s no stoppage of movement in their new favorite endeavor.

Following the path of an older sister who also graduated from Fairview High School not too far back, Tim and Rose can be considered staples of the Knights’ cross country program and both are hoping to bring FHS back to the state championships with some teammates in tow.

Last year, Rose was a freshman while Tim was a junior. Both qualified for state for the first time, joining sister Aloha in that ring of accomplishment. Tim finished 13th overall in Class 5A, while Rose placed 36th and was the eighth freshman to cross the finish line.

“Aloha was one of the main people who inspired me to get into cross country running,” Tim said. “I made almost like a natural transition into running from soccer during middle school to high school, and once I joined the cross country it just seemed everyone was so incredibly nice.

“Having my two sisters on the team (at various points) … it’s incredibly helpful just because, when you have  somebody else right there to get you up and just get you ready, it just makes the whole thing so much easier.”

Rose said she was more reluctant to give up soccer until just recently, but that the bond she has with her siblings has made anything they do so much more enjoyable. On weekends, you can find Tim and Rose hiking or perhaps still — you guessed it — playing a little futbol.

“Tim gets me going, makes me realize there’s a lot out there to achieve and if I just keep motivated I can make things happen,” Rose said.

What Rose has achieved is a better state time than Aloha (19:31 to 19:39), however the older sister still has the higher placing for the time being as she finished 21st in 2019. According to Rose, Aloha also has ran a 18:32 “or something around there” — giving Rose even more to shoot for.

This fall, the FHS boys and girls are drastically different in makeup. The boys team is full of upperclassmen including seniors Caspar Brown, Gordy Nilsen, Rowan Nilsen and Jake Zajac and juniors Jack Brown, Holden Krizek and Vincent Mangat. The girls have lone senior Alison Kirby, but the bulk of the team is sophomores Sierra Wall, Katie Knowlton, Emma Weber and Molly Weber as well as juniors Gabriella Castellino, Mila Hagen and Helen Carlson.

The Knights boys were fifth in 2021 and the girls were seventh, and the expectations are to continue the rise in October at the Norris Penrose Event Center.

“I think we have a strong, pretty young pack that is just so motivated,” Rose said of the girls.

Added Tim of the boys: “We’ve been running just very, very consistently over the summer. Running together as a team consistently for several years in a row, there’s nothing better than that to start the season.”