Girls Cross Country Star Breaks School Record


Haley Harper, senior, broke the Plano West school record at the Chile Pepper Invitational cross-country tournament Saturday, October 1st. 

The original 5k run school record, 17:32, was set seventeen years ago in 2005. Harper was up to the challenge, beating the record by ten seconds and finishing 2nd place out of 300 girls with a time of 17:22.

“I felt so good breaking the school record,” said Harper,  “I’ve been trying to break it for the past three meets, and I finally did, so it was so awesome.”

Harper had previously been a Plano West Varsity Soccer team member, achieving a Second Team All-District award for the 2021 season. However, her passion and success for running led her to pursue cross-country instead, and she just verbally committed as a scholarship athlete to the University of Texas.

“The transition from soccer to running has been very crazy and hectic but one of the best decisions of my life,” said Harper. “I slowly lost a passion for soccer while gaining a love for running through my two years of running. I knew I wanted to pursue running in college, so I had to pick one and commit to it, and the obvious answer to that was track and cross country.”

With cross-country being such a challenging sport physically and mentally, Harper prioritizes recovery and preparation in her routines leading up to a meet.

“For my meets, I make sure I hit the right paces in my workouts and get enough recovery as well throughout the week,” said Harper. “I make sure I get enough sleep every night, stay hydrated throughout the week, and eat things that will help give me the best outcome for my races.”

With so much success during cross-country tournaments so far, Harper has high hopes for the rest of her senior season as she just placed 3rd individually at the District meet.

“My goals for the rest of the season are for the girls’ team to make it to regionals,” said Harper. “I want to make it to state individually and hopefully break more school records!”