Xavier's Sarah Fakler is striving for running's elite

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PHOENIX - Xavier Prep has a long tradition of great distance runners. Sophomore Sarah Fakler is the next in that line, but with all the expectations the cross country and track athlete isn't letting the pressure get to her.

She is using the mental strength she has developed through running to keep her on track in becoming one of the best runners the state of Arizona has seen.

As a freshman Sarah came into Xavier with high expectations.

She met those expectations placing second in state in cross county and setting the All-Time Arizona Frosh Class record in the 1600 meters.

Coming into this year those expectations were greater and she delivered finishing first at state in cross country which led to her being named the Gatorade Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

She isn't done yet, as she vies for more accolades competing in the 1600 meters, mile and 3200 meters in track this spring.

Sarah puts in the work to reach her lofty goals. She wakes up at 5 a.m. during cross country season to get in an hour and a half run before school. She is disciplined in eating the right foods too. She does all of this while managing to maintain excellent grades.

Not many people like running in the long distance races, but Sarah prefers them.

Having her two sisters on the team makes competing in track and field more enjoyable. Her younger sister also competes in distance events with her older sister competing in field events.

Xavier's track tradition drives Sarah to continue to improve and her coach is making sure she isn't pushed too hard as she still has two years of high school left.

With two more years to grow as an athlete Sarah could shatter state records before it is all said and done.

Coach Dave Vansickle knows her achievements have already made her a leader on the team. Her discipline is key in taking her talent to the next level. She is not looking to get comfortable with where she is at now.

She is a focused young woman, which she said helps her avoid the pressures of being the best.

Sarah hopes running gets her a scholarship to study engineering in college.