PREP TRACK & FIELD: ‘We want our integrity and work ethic to stand out’: Cold Springs’ Conellie Philbeck ready for Sophomore season

Cold Springs’ Conellie Philbeck. (Courtesy of Conellie Philbeck)

BREMEN, Ala. — Last season was another successful one for the Cold Springs’ boys and girls track and field teams. Sophomore Conellie Philbeck talked about last season, what all she learned and what it’s been like to be part of a special team.

“I feel like last season was a successful one. I think we accomplished a lot. Our boys got the state runner-up title through tight competition. Despite us not winning the state title, I do believe that we still had a successful season,” Philbeck said. “I always learn lessons through running. One thing I’ve learned is that it’s important to stick things out through completion, no matter what is thrown at you and no matter what challenges you face. I’m not a natural runner and I’m not the strongest on the team; it can definitely be difficult and frustrating, but I try to have determination to work even harder to be my best.”

She added,

“I’m blessed to be a part of the cross-country and track-and-field teams. Both teams have had major success. A big reason is because we aim to keep God at the center of our program. God is over everything that we do and without Him, we wouldn’t have any success. Without Him, we are nothing. Another reason is we make a conscious effort to keep and honor traditions of the teams before us. We are constantly reminded of this, and I think that affects our success now.”

Connie has learned a lot from Coach Casey Howell since he started coaching her in seventh grade. 

“Coach Howell is a great coach. He is good at his job, and he does things right. He has been my coach since 7th grade, his first as a coach and it was my first year on varsity. I couldn’t imagine anyone different,” she said. “I learned a lot from him. I learned that you have to do things the right way, even when it’s hard. He teaches me to work hard and have standards. I also have great assistant coaches in Johnny and Janna Huffstutler. They are amazing people I can always count on to be there for me. They also teach us to work hard.”

There were eight seniors on last season’s team and Connie learned so much from them. She talked about what all she will work on to get ready for next season.

“I learned that if you do not work hard, you will not get what you want. We have a lot of tough competition, and we all have to do our part in order to achieve success. I’ve also learned that we can’t all be the top runner to be an important part of our team,” she said. “I feel like I need to work on staying in shape and stretching well to avoid injury. I also want to work on loving my teammates well and having better communication skills to help us be successful next season.”

Connie has a lot of individual and team goals for next season, and she talks about what will make this team special to watch.

“My individual goals are to work harder, be more positive, and love my teammates like Jesus would. Our team goals are to put God first, keep a positive attitude, continue to have good work ethic, hold each other accountable, and commit to our standards and to each other,” she said. “We hope when people see us that they see something different about our team. We want our integrity and work ethic to stand out. That’s why I think our team will be special to watch next season.”

Connie has had her fair share of role models over the years, and she shared some of the advice she received from them.

“I have had plenty of role models over the years. Most of them have graduated, but they are Brooke Crider, Alyssa Jackson, and Ava Akridge. They are all different, but they all have shown me what hard work and being a leader looks like. They have also shown me how to love my teammates as well. They have all loved me when I was feeling unlovable. They were really kind and sweet. I couldn’t be more grateful for them,” she said. “The best advice I’ve been given since I joined the team is that everyone can’t be the top runner, you can be a leader in other ways.”

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