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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Sep. 1, 2022 3 weeks ago

ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Matti McGinn

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McGinn is looking forward to the fall season and running alongside her teammates in the upcoming cross country races.
by: Andrea Mujica Staff Writer

The First Academy cross country runner and junior Matti McGinn is looking forward to the fall season and running alongside her teammates in the upcoming cross country races. McGinn’s favorite races include the 800m and 4x4 track relay.

Tell us about your cross country years.
I started in sixth grade in middle school, and I’ve just been in it until now. My favorite year was probably my freshman year, but I’m really excited for this year. I think it’s going to be a great year. 

When did you first started practicing cross country?
In middle school, I would just run with my dad in the afternoons for fun; that’s when I joined cross country. Now, I run every day. 

Why cross country? 
It’s good training, and it’s fun to run with my friends and teammates, because you can interact with them outside of the school while you are running. I also enjoy it. 

Have you done other sports over the years? 
Yes, I started track and field when I was in ninth grade, so this is my third year. Cross country I started when I was in sixth grade, and lacrosse I also started it when I was in sixth grade. 

What’s your favorite sport out of the three?
Probably lacrosse, because it’s running with other stuff, so it’s a combination. 

What is your favorite thing about being a part of the TFA cross country team?  
I love it because for one, we run in the mornings together, so it’s fun to be a part of the team. And then, we all get up early, and it’s fun because we create a special bond, because we are out early and we beat the Florida heat. 

Do you have a favorite time of the day to run? 
Usually the mornings, it’s not hot. And I like getting up and doing it; that way, I don’t have to think about it throughout the day — I just do it. 

What is your favorite hobby? 
I like baking for fun, different cookies. I also like paddle boarding — the ocean and just any body of water basically. 

What is your favorite movie? 
I really like “Soul Surfer.” I saw it when I was like 10, and it’s always been my favorite movie. 

A TV series that you are watching right now? 
“The Amazing Race” — I love watching that show. I like it, because it’s something new and exciting every episode, and I like to see all the amazing places they go to and the challenges they can do.

Who’s your favorite superhero? Why? 
Maybe Captain America, because I think he’s cool. 

If you could have a superpower, which one would it be and why?
Probably flying, I’ve always thought it’d be cool to fly, and it would help with cross country. 

What are three places you would like to visit? Why? 
Probably Switzerland; I would like to ski there, and it looks really pretty just to hang out. The other place is Hawaii — I’ve always wanted to go to there to the beach. And my third one would probably be just a small town in Europe, I don’t know what the place is called, but I would like to just go and live there for a few days. 

Best vacation sport? 
I went to Zambia a few years ago, and that was really cool, because it was really different from here. And it was crazy, because we went zip-lining in one place, and the whole thing was held up by duck tape. I noticed after I went on; otherwise, I wouldn’t have gone on it. But it was so fun just to see the different culture and learn new things. 

What’s your favorite food? 
I love smoothies at any time. I love chocolate milk — especially after a race. 

What’s your favorite dessert? 
Ice cream probably, specifically Blue Bell, anything from Blue Bell — it’s the best. 

Three things you would take with you to a deserted island? 
I’d probably bring some food, because I’d get hungry. A phone, just so I have things to do and play around, and a dog to play with. 

Any thought about where you’d like to go to college? 
I’ve looked at a few. I like Berry College in Georgia, Auburn and Sanford. Those are probably my top three. 

What would you like to study?
Something along exercise science. Maybe physical therapy or nutrition. 

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Andrea Mujica is a staff writer for the West Orange Times & Observer, the Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. She covers sports, news and features. She holds both a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Central Florida....

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