by Jeff Hollobaugh
“This has just been an amazing season,” says Gabrielle Wilkinson (Friends Central, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania). “And Millrose was just the icing on the cake for me.”
The Florida-bound senior admits, “Going into that I didn’t really have the mindset of winning. I went in hoping for a PR.”
Mission accomplished, as her 4:42.94 dropped more than 10 seconds from her previous best of 4:53.03 set at Millrose 2 years ago and moved her into the No. 13 position all-time.
“I worked hard all year and it paid off,” she explains. “Over this past summer and heading into this indoor season I worked on building more mileage. I’m doing more intervals.
“I feel like that really helped me push toward my goals. I didn’t really have an indoor season last year [injury] so I really wanted to just go for it.”
The new mile star has great 800 credentials as well, earning our No. 5 All-America position last year, when she ran 2:06.03.
“I don’t feel like an 800 specialist. I guess I’m an 800/miler,” she says.
She also leads the yearly 1000 list at 2:47.22, good for No. 11 all-time.
Born into a family of track athletes (sister Elyse ran 2:06.39 for Cornell), Wilkinson has been running since age 8. “Before that I did soccer,” she says, “but I wasn’t really good at that so I moved on. My older sister ran track, and I really look up to her.”
Wilkinson doesn’t lack for role models. Living in the Philly area, she’s even been to a few training sessions with the Juventis club and Ajee’ Wilson. “They’re just fantastic runners,” she says. “It’s inspiration for me.”
With the outdoor season looming, Wilkinson won’t mention any specific goals. Rather, her whole game plan is based on “going out with a bang.”
She explains, “I’m just looking for PRs and to drop my times down. I have focused more on the 800 in past years, but with winning Millrose, I feel like I have more to offer in the mile.”
One of those things is a stinging kick. “You have to have a strong finish. No matter what. Most races come down to it, so definitely I work on it in practice.”