VYPE Houston Region
Other North HS
Gullo Player of the Month -- Willis' Cali Roper
November 12, 2011VYPE MAGAZINE - North Houston
RUNNING TO NEW HEIGHTS
Not everything happens as it is planned.
Entering her freshman year, cross country wasn’t on the docket of her high school to-do list. As a multi-sport standout, Cali Roper had no intentions of running competitively for Willis High School.
“I played a lot of sports during my freshman and sophomore years and I knew that running would help with those sports,” said Roper. “Coach just got a hold of me at the beginning of the summer before my freshman year and it just stuck.”
While her team didn’t qualify for the UIL Class 4A State Cross Country last season, Roper represented Willis as one of the premiere runners in the state to individually qualify for the event. Although she didn’t have the help of her teammates, Roper turned in a time of 11:12.62 to finish third overall.
Just a few days after claiming the bronze medal at the state meet, Roper continued to turn in impressive marks as she posted a time of 18:12.80 in the 5000m event at the Nike Cross Nationals South Regional which was good enough for a fourth-place finish.
“Honestly I didn’t know that I had that much in me but I’ve always set my standards high,” said Roper. “My parents have always told me that the sky was the limit and to be able to get to this level is incredible.”
Although she ran unattached at the state meet last season, the senior leader believes that this could be the year that her teammates join her in Austin, TX as she sets her sights on the Class 4A Gold Medal.
“As a team we look better than ever,” said Roper. “We have a lot of incoming freshmen and our returners have improved so much over the summer. I think we have a real good chance to all make it to the state meet this season.”
Despite her three years of experience in the sport, Roper has garnered the attention of collegiate cross country programs and she hopes to keep her talents within the state of Texas to help maintain her long-term goals.
“I want to keep my options open right now for college but Rice, Texas, Texas A&M and a few other schools are at the top of my list,” said Roper. “God has blessed me so much and I really want to continue running in college with hopes of one day running in the Olympics.”