Southwest Orange Observer: Sports Spotlight — Maya Lis

Dr. Phillips freshman Maya Lis is trying to become one of the best cross-country runners at the school.

  • By
  • | 5:25 p.m. November 12, 2019
  • Sports
  • Share

A freshman on the Dr. Phillips cross-country team, Maya Lis already has become one of the best runners at the school and had a sixth-place finish at the Panthers’ 4A, Region 3 meet last week. Along with running, Lis enjoys healthy eating and playing the cello.


How did you first get into running?

I first got into running about two years ago because my friend Natalie did running, and my brother did it and I wanted to beat him, so I just did it. Before, I didn’t run at all — I played volleyball.


What’s it been like running in high school as a freshman?

I love it — it’s so much fun. Before I started high school, I would run with the cross-country team for high school over the summer. 


What has that been like — going from volleyball to cross-country?

I didn’t like volleyball, but I played it for six years — and gymnastics — but I like cross-country a lot better. 


What’s the most challenging aspect of racing? The most fun aspect?

The most challenging part is probably running fast in races. And I like it because it clears my head — I don’t have to think while I’m running, I just run.


What motivates you to run?

I don’t know, but I do get to eat more food because I run. I also like to win and I think that’s it.


How do you prepare for a race?

Before a race, I eat normal food — I don’t really like unhealthy food — but if I want to eat ice cream, I’ll eat ice cream, why not? Then I sit in my bed and I think of the course, for like, 30 minutes, and then I read over my tactics. I say in my head over and over again, “You can do this, you’re strong,” then I count in my head to pass time. (I also) say my speech in my head — a speech from debate class — and the biggest tactic is smiling while you’re racing. If you smile, it’s really great — you get a runner’s high while you’re running.


Is there ever a moment during a race where you hit a wall? How do you overcome that?

I drink three cups of coffee before a race.


Do you have a highlight moment from this season?

The best moment of my high-school season was probably in one of the St. Cloud races. I smiled a couple of times while I was running while people were cheering for me, and I got like, two runner’s highs while running.


Coming into the season, did you know what to expect?

No, I had no idea. When I went to my first race, I was really scared, and I still am. One of my friends told me that you can turn your fear into excitement — your body doesn’t really know the difference — so I just tell myself that I’m excited, and then I get excited and happy for a race.


Related Articles

  • September 16, 2021
Athlete of the Week: Ella Klyce