Q&A with XC Star Helena Gagnier

Gagnier gets real about her experience on the Robinson cross country team.


Helena Gagnier (’23) crossing the finish line at the FSU cross country meet.

Shayla Mcintyre , Staff Writer

This cross-country season has been great for the team and has really shaped a powerful and encouraging group of athletes, notably Helena Gagnier (’23). She is dedicated on and off the course, practicing seven days a week regardless of weather while balancing a healthy school and social life. Gagnier understands how hard it is being a student and training this hard every day which is why she is so proud of how her team has been doing this year. This season the team has done a lot of traveling, even going to Florida State University for a meet which proved to be a huge success. Gagnier and her teammates will have regionals on Oct. 27 at Holloway park which will determine whether or not they qualify for states.

Q: How long have you been running?

A: I started running in 4th grade, but didn’t join a club until 7th grade. I have done high school cross country and track for all four years.

Q: What made you want to join running? 

A: I wanted to do a sport and I can’t kick or throw and I don’t have hand-eye coordination and I was okay at running so I decided to do cross-country and I’m so happy I did.

Q: What is your pre-race routine?

A: We always do a mile warm-up an hour before the race. After the warm-up we do some stretches and change into racing flats, twenty minutes before the race we start dynamics to keep our heart rate up to further prepare our bodies for the race to come.

Q: What is your best memory with your team this year?

A: My favorite memory with the team this year is when we beat Plant for the first time in twenty years at the Abbey Invitational meet.

Q: What is your favorite part about your team?

A: My favorite part of being on the team is getting the privilege to run with my amazing and supportive teammates that make me look forward to practice, even on the hardest days.

Q: What is the most important lesson you have learned from running? 

A: Determination, keep moving even when it gets hard.

Q: If you could do any sport other than cross country what would you choose?

A: Maybe swimming, it seems cool.

Q: What advice would you give a freshman or anyone who is new to running and wants to join the team?

A: Just keep moving no matter how hard it seems it will always get better. Once you hit a certain point in your training it gets so much easier but just getting there can be rough, it was rough for me and for the freshman but once you hit that point it becomes manageable.

Q: Are you hoping to run in college?

A: I’m definitely going to keep running in college, but I don’t know if it will be for a team or running club.