Stepping it up
Alivia Gustrowsky will help set tone as one of Brownsburg’s top runners
By Mike Beas
A touch of irony is attached to whatever success the Brownsburg girls cross country program achieves this season.
Senior Alivia Gustrowsky, whose personality leans in the direction of sunbeams and cloudless skies, prefers to train and even compete in less-than-ideal conditions. High winds? A brisk sideways rain? Either way, she takes the expression “glass-half-full” to new limits.
“It’s every day, and she’s not faking it,” said Bulldogs coach Craig Beckner, laughing. “Where Alivia is at with her running has taken her four years of hard work, and I think her positive attitude is a lot of that. She has really grown into a leadership role these past couple of seasons.
“Alivia is as good of a team leader as she is a runner, and we’ve definitely benefited from that.”
Gustrowsky was Brownsburg’s No. 3 runner last season. She’s expected to be near the top of the lineup again when the Bulldogs start the season at the Noblesville Hokum Karem on Aug. 29. Gustrowsky is one of four seniors on the Bulldogs’ roster, the others being Katherine Blanton, Abby Lynch and Isabella Maihofer.
Lynch, who ran cross country and played soccer as a freshman, has focused on the latter sport the past two years. She’s doing both again this season before going on to the University of Illinois where she’ll be part of the women’s cross country and track squads.
With spring sports canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Gustrowsky wasn’t able to run track. As a junior cross country athlete, she placed 10th at the Brownsburg sectional in a time of 19:53.0 and was 17th a week later at the Ben Davis regional in 19:34.3.
An outstanding student with a 4.4 grade-point average, Gustrowsky hasn’t decided where she’ll attend college. She is considering majoring in either computer science or sustainable agriculture.
Gustrowsky recently did a Q&A with ICON:
Q: Last season’s Brownsburg team that made it to semistate was led by seniors Brooke Dixon and Emma Cougill. How much did training and competing with them benefit you going into this season?
A: It benefited me a ton. They taught me a lot about leadership, so I’m grateful for the example they set. They are both hard workers who supported everyone on the team regardless of their talent level or position on the team.
Q: Do you like the pressure that goes along with being your team’s No. 1 runner?
A: It’s kind of exciting. It’s fun because it gives me the opportunity to encourage other people. I’m enjoying it.
Q: The COVID-19 pandemic affected everyone’s training, particularly this past spring. How hard was it to get your miles in while staying motivated?
A: Honestly, having to run alone really helped me discover my limits. It forced me to find out how my body worked and what motivated me. It was good for destressing, and I enjoyed it a lot, obviously.