By Hanna Duenkel
Purcellville (March 11, 2015) — Loudoun Valley High School senior Ciara Donohue has committed to run cross country and track at George Mason University. Donohue will start at GMU this fall, racing distance for the Division Patriots in track and field and racing the clock in cross country.
Donohue felt drawn to GMU for many reasons, but highlighted her family ties to the university and the future opportunities provided.
“I picked GMU because it is a great up-and-coming school,” the 5-foot-5 Donohue said. “My older sister is a sophomore there and she loves it! It is not to far from home and close to D.C. The cross country and track teams seem really great, and I think this school is a perfect fit for me. I am really excited to be running for the Patriots and can’t wait until this fall.”
During her high school career, Donohue raced for the Loudoun Valley Vikings’ spending four years with the cross country team and two years with the track and field team.
Donohue began her racing career at the age of seven, but did not race competitively until her freshman year of high school, when she joined the Vikings’ cross country team. While she ran cross country for the Vikings, Donohue also played soccer in the spring until her junior year, when she made the switch to track and field to run distance in the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter events.
At the 2014 Foot Locker Cross Country Championships South Regional, Donohue ran a pretty hasty five-kilometer — with a personal best time of 17:14 — finishing sixth overall.
The runner also was second in the VHSL 3A state meet with a time of 18:06 leading Loudoun Valley to a second place team finish.
After finishing second in the 2013 VHSL 3A East region meet, Donohue topped the podium in 2014 with a time of 17:43.
For the second fall in a row, Donohue claimed the Conference 28 title with a time of 17:41
Since last spring was her first season running track, Donohue was able to set personal bests in the 1,600-meter with a time of 5:09 and 3,200-meter with a time of 10:56.
“This spring I hope to see a lot of improvement because it is only my second season of track. Also, with new coaches, my training has really changed, and I am running a lot more miles each week than I was last year,” Donohue said. “This spring will be very bittersweet because I will miss the cross country and track teams and coaches at Loudoun Valley a whole lot.”
This fall, Donohue will join Patriots cross country and track head coach Andrew Gerard and Dominion High School graduate Trent Lancaster on the cross country course before teaming up with Broad Run High School graduate Sarah Weber, Loudoun County High School graduate Teddy Murphy and Lancaster on the track.
“I will work extremely hard in improving my running technique,” Donohue said. “I will give my best at George Mason, and I am looking forward to seeing what more I can do with track since I only started last year.”
She credits her running success to the love that she has for the sports, motivating her to become better and to improve her mileage and times. Meanwhile, the commitment to GMU means one thing for Donohue: she can relax about her college search.
“It is such a relief to be committed to a college already,” Donohue said. “I can sit back and relax the rest of my senior year which feels good. All my hard work has paid off.”
Hanna Duenkel is a sophomore at Tuscarora High School in Leesburg. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.