Four years ago, Sarah Porter had never run competitively. Today, the freshman is ready to make her mark on the women’s cross country team after arriving on Princeton’s campus from sunny Southern California only weeks ago. The ‘Prince’ talked to Sarah about the transition to life at college, her favorite prerace pump-up music and some aspects of competitive running that may come as a surprise.
Q: How’s the transition been from high school to Princeton?
A: The transition has been good. I would say relatively smooth, although it’s kind of far away. The people are nice; there are a lot of resources. I like the team; everything is positive.
Q: Where are you from?
A: Southern California, Orange County.
Q: When did you start running?
A: I started freshman year of high school, randomly.
Q: What has been the best thing about being an athlete at Princeton?
A: I really like the locker room. When I visited, I remember just being blown away by the locker room. You know it’s a good school, but you don’t have to pay for laundry. That’s a big plus. They also do my laundry for me, and occasionally you can sneak in some of your regular clothes, but I’m not sure if that’s allowed.
Q: What’s your least favorite part about being an athlete at Princeton?
A: I’m not really keen on the walk, but I’m close. Some people have to go from Mathey; I live in Butler.
Q: What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you in a race?
A: A lot of girls curse at you. Is that weird? They’ll run by you, and they’ll say the meanest things. For example, one time this girl ran by me, and we were going up a big hill, and this girl comes out of nowhere and says something explicit. This girl had rumors circulating about her. Runners can be mean. They can be really mean.
Q: Who is your quirkiest teammate, and why?
A: Probably [sophomore] Emily de La Bruyere. She’s just very serious. She has this serious face all the time, and the way she stands too — she stands with her hands on her hips, elbows back, one foot in front of the other. She’s in a lunge position and very serious. Everyone asks her about it and she says there’s a face.
Q: What is a weird ritual that you have?
A: I have a tendency to dance prerace.
Q: What is your prerace playlist?
A: I feel like I don’t listen to cool music. I feel like most people do, and I’m just behind the curve. But I listen to a lot of Taylor Swift. I don’t think that she is one of those pump-up kind of girls, but you will find a few of those [songs] on my playlist. “Halo” by Beyonce is another. No one talks about JoJo. When JoJo comes up, I don’t skip because she is just good. I just let it happen without second-guessing.
Q: What is the highlight of your sports career?
A: Well, there’s this big race in cross country in high school called League Finals. I remember just idolizing every single girl that had gone before me, and they all went off to UCLA or super amazing schools. They were all just destined for greatness. It was one of those races that was perfectly executed. It was the right amount of preparation and self-confidence. I remember the girl who I was racing against back and forth this entire time, and by the way, this girl was not a nice girl. Her coach was there the entire time telling her to pass me, so it was just a good feeling [to win]. Even now, if I’m emotionally eating chocolate like I am now, I can remember that [race] and feel ten times better. I crossed the finish line and immediately burst into tears. They have really embarrassing photos.
Q: Do you have a nickname?
A: In high school, people would whip out the “Por-tear” because of my tendency to cry. I just get excited and express myself on an emotional level. I think that’s healthy.
Q: Do you have any role models?
A: I like [senior] Greta Feldman. She went to the Olympic Trials. It’s really impressive. She’s kind of scary because she’s so intimidating. She’s just so good, and I haven’t talked to her too much either. I just respect her from a solid distance.
Q: What was your “welcome-to-Princeton” moment?
A: It was the second day of practice, and we went on a run. On the way back, I was tripped by Emily de La Bruyere. It’s been three weeks and there are still marks on my hands.
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