Lady Tiger of the Year: Gracie Troester

For Gracie Troester, the 2023-2024 Lady Tiger of the Year, running is as much about the strength of the team as it is about solo achievements. Troester had plenty of solo achievements over the past year. She finished 7th at the state cross-country meet in the fall, then added three medals to her collection this spring at the state track meet. She became the first Republic athlete ever to earn three medals in the same season. But despite the individual achievements, Troester said she always keeps the goals of her team in mind when she is competing. In addition to Troester’s 7th place finish in cross-country, she finished 3rd in the 1600m run and the 3200m run this spring. She was also a part of the 4x800m relay team that finished 7th.

“Our 4×8, I really enjoy warming up with the group and getting to compete together,” said Troester of her favorite relay. “We all look at each other and know that we’re going to…run for each and every single one.”

In the 1600m, she cracked five minutes for the first time after setting that as a goal at the beginning of the track season. That time was a school record, and she also holds the school record for cross country, for the 3200m run, and in the 4x800m relay with teammates Kristin Probst, Gracie Woods, and Reese Finley. Troester said one of her biggest challenges is staying mentally focused.

“When I really have the mental aspect down, I can surprise myself with what I can do, and it depends if I really want to do it… and show up.”

Troester’s team-first attitude shines through in both cross-country and track. During cross-country meets, she often finishes in plenty of time to watch her teammates finish their races. “I’m right back out there cheering on the people that still have to finish… I still want the team to do as well as I do,” she said.

The relay races during the spring are also some of her favorite events because of the way teammates must rely on each other. “We have it in our head that if someone doesn’t perform as well, we have to make that up for them,” Troester said. “And we get to enjoy the victory together as a team, and that’s just so special.”

Cross-country coach Lexi Gallion praised Troester’s contributions to the team. “Gracie’s competitive drive is a great contribution to the team. She pushes her teammates to be their best and models that same drive for younger runners around her,” Gallion said. “One of my favorite things about Gracie is her inclusiveness. Regardless of speed or competition level she is always the one on the side of the course or the track cheering in on her teammates.”

Track coach Tori Mooneyham praised Troester’s contributions. “Gracie is the kind of athlete you want on your team for many reasons,” Mooneyham said. “She leads by example and sets the standard high when it comes to her work ethic.”

Mooneyham said she is especially impressed by the mental toughness that accompanies what Troester has been able to accomplish. “She is able to do what most athletes cannot do and that is compete in all 4 of the toughest races in track. It takes an extreme amount of mental toughness to do what she does. She is the type of athlete that when she puts her mind to something, she gives everything she has to accomplish that goal.”

Troester has one year remaining and plans to make the most of it. She already has six state medals to her name — five in track and one in cross country. She needs one more next year to tie Sherri Dunn for the most medals won by a Lady Tiger. If she wins three medals next year, that would equal the nine won by Kenneth Bowling. And if she can match this year’s four-medal haul, she would be the most prolific medal winner in Republic history.

But her goal as a senior is simply to continue improving. “You always have the goal of getting better each year. (I’m) going to take my training more seriously this summer and in the winter months, getting ready for each sport,” she said, “to know that I can do better in my times and… push others to do just as good.”


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