Sara Fish, one of Canyon View’s returning seniors, confidently declares, “Anyone can do anything.” Reviewing the past experiences and challenges this athlete has overcome with the help of her family, it is no wonder that she is a firm believer of everyone’s ability to rise when they fall, and come out of trying situations stronger.
With a large and very close family, Sara’s mom Sheryl explains that all of her children are very close. “They get along so well. It’s really awesome to get to see the dynamics of these three kids [still living at home]. They’re very competitive and they push each other.” When asked what role Sara uniquely plays in the Fish family, Sheryl holds in her cheerful laugh and begins by happily stating, “I love this girl, I just do. We’re such good friends!” She continues by explaining the role Sara has is one of influence. Her positivity, strong work ethic, and goal-oriented perspective on life have been a benefit to their family.
Sara is the fifth child of a total of six. The one younger sibling under Sara is her brother, Sam. Sara has worked to be a strong and clear influence on Sam, who also successfully runs cross-country and track for Canyon View High School. Her efforts to be a positive influence on her younger brother is no shock, especially when considering that it was the influence of Sara’s older brother Ben, that got her into running. “If it weren’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be running today.” Ben also ran cross-country and track in high school, and is currently working hard to pursue his goal of competing at the college level.
Sara hopes to attend and run for Southern Utah University. Aside from athletic eligibility, her ambition of being professionally involved in medicine is a strong academic motivator. Sara is enrolled in multiple medical courses at Dixie Applied Technical College. Sara says, “Sometimes it can be overwhelming with all of the homework and late nights, but for the most part it’s good.” Sheryl speaks highly of her daughter on an academic level, indicating that working hard and tackling challenges is a key part of Sara’s character. “She is very dedicated as a student. She’s outstanding in everything that she does.”
Roger Crawford, an athlete who competed at the Division 1 college level with a severe disability, said the following. “Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional”. Two years ago, Sara was most definitely presented with a challenge. Thankfully, she refused to be defeated by the threat. Defeat was not an option. She refused to allow the challenge to become a permanent, road-blocking obstacle. At the age of 14, Sara was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Sheryl opened up about the story to provide an outside perspective on how Sara handled this time in her life.
Sheryl admits, “The diagnosis scared her. She didn’t understand.” With the initial fear of crashing, Sara did not compete in any athletics her sophomore year, despite her interest in many sports she had not yet attempted, such as soccer. Sheryl continues, “Her older brother Ben really had a lot to do with her overcoming her fear. He would say, ‘Come run with me Sara, just come run.’ It took time, but she ran with him and discovered that it wasn’t as scary as she imagined. Her sugars were actually better controlled the more she exercised and ran.” With her newfound strength and confidence, Sara signed up for cross country for the first time her junior year.
“They get along so well. It’s really awesome to get to see the dynamics of these three kids [still living at home]. They’re very competitive and they push each other.“ – Sheryl Fish
“She ran one race and was immediately put on the Varsity team,” said Sheryl. Sara more than pushed through her fear and physical limitations. She faced them head on and completely disregarded the constraints and barriers her condition tried to impose on her. Sara’s mom says, “It’s really remarkable to see how that change occurred in her, and how strong she’s become.” Sheryl notes that her daughter has adopted a new mentality of, “If I can do this with diabetes, then anybody can do anything they want to.”
There is no doubt that the work that Canyon View’s cross country team put in played a major role in their being able to compete at state last season. Practice during the season can last up to two hours right after school finishes. Through a combination of hill workouts, speed training, and other drills, the team strives to not only maintain their abilities, but consistently improve. The offseason for Canyon View by no means suggests a lighter load in training. Sara and the remainder of the cross-country team don’t waste any time sleeping in as practice begins at 7am sharp. Again lasting two hours, exactly as if the season was ongoing.
Sara commented the following when asked about competing at state. “State was a lot of fun! It was really nerve wracking my first time there, but I placed well and it really was worth it.” Sheryl proudly expressed the joy she feels in watching her daughter complete. She says, “I love watching her kick it into gear! The last few hundred yards Sara just turns it on! I’m usually down on the end with a stopwatch in one hand and a purse with all of her insulin supplies on the other shoulder. Sara puts her legs into overdrive and just has a stamina that won’t stop.”
Relating to mentors, Sara did not hesitate in addressing both her family and coach, Mariam Steffensen. About her coach, Sara says, “She’s helped me a lot and I really look up to her.”
With the help of her loving family, supportive teammates, and helpful coaching staff, Sara has been able to flourish as a student-athlete. As a team captain, Sara has a unique and special outlook when it comes to motivating her teammates. “Motivate with kindness.”
There is already so much to this amazing high school senior’s story, and her level of dedication is hard to match. Simply put Sara concludes, “I love to run.” • HSSI