The 2020 Class of the Better Mount Ethereal Sports activities Corridor of Fame inducted its youngest athlete but, but additionally certainly one of its most worthy.
Kirsten Parries is among the most embellished feminine runners in Surry County historical past. Between working cross nation and a number of occasions in monitor, she was awarded all-conference honors 19 instances in 4 years. That’s proper, 19 instances in two sports activities in 4 years.
She gained a convention championship 13 instances and completed second 4 extra instances. Shifting on to the regional stage, she gained three regional races and took three gold medals on the 1A state championships, setting one state report that also stands eight years later.
Kirsten could also be simply 24 years outdated and simply six years faraway from graduating Mount Ethereal Excessive College in 2014, however 5 years is lengthy sufficient to qualify for main sports activities honors.
Surprisingly, Kirsten’s beginnings as a runner didn’t go as deliberate.
She really had performed basketball in center faculty. Within the sixth grade she appeared as much as eighth-grade star Jordan Hiatt (who can also be a member of the Class of 2020 for her profession at Mount Ethereal Excessive College and Lenoir-Rhyne).
Kirsten mentioned by the point she obtained to highschool she was feeling burned out on basketball, however she was all the time there at video games to indicate her assist within the stands.
Jordan, then a junior, had gotten into working cross nation to remain in form for basketball. She inspired Kirsten to run along with her.
“On the first race, I used to be so excited, I attempted to exit at her velocity,” she recalled. “I used to be working and feeling nice.”
However, the races are 5,000 meters, or about 3.1 miles.
”By the 2-mile mark, I’m exhausted,” she mentioned. Working at Fisher River Park, there’s a part the place the kids run up a hill and are out of sight of the dad and mom earlier than working their method again across the course.
After trudging up that hill, Kirsten mentioned she didn’t assume she may make it one other step. She sat down on a log and questioned whether or not she ought to simply stop. After about 15 seconds, she obtained again up and continued on.
She completed the race, however about three and a half minutes behind Jordan, who completed fourth.
Simply six weeks later on the Northwest 1A/2A Convention Championship, Jordan took second, and Kirsten was third — a whopping 5 and a half minutes sooner than her first race.
Two weeks later on the 1A Midwest Regional, Kirsten was 50 seconds sooner than Jordan and certified for the state championship, the place she completed sixth in all of 1A. Numerous progress in a short while.
Within the tenth grade, she took first place in cross nation on the 1A Midwest Regional after which gained the gold on the 1A State Championship.
Nevertheless, she mentioned what she remembers most is monitor season along with her teammates, particularly Jordan, a senior all-state basketball star; Davi Barbour, a sophomore starter on the state champion tennis staff (and presumably a Corridor of Fame at some point); and Alex Mayes, a senior who was the convention champion within the 400 meters.
As a distance runner, she naturally ran the 1,600 meters and three,200 meters (roughly 1 mile and a couple of miles). However she additionally ran the 4x800m and 4x400m relay races.
“It was a lot brisker being a part of a staff,” she mentioned. “We will all share a win collectively. You’ve got that particular bond with all of your teammates that I really like.”
The 4×800 relay staff blew away the competitors within the Northwest Convention Championship with a stellar time of 10:05. In addition they did effectively individually.
Jordan took third place within the excessive soar and first place within the 800 meters seconds forward of Davi. Parries took first place within the 1600 and 3200 meters. Alex took first place within the 400 meters.
Within the regionals, the Woman Bears had been overwhelmed by one of many constitution/magnet faculties: Grey Stone Day College.
They might sq. off once more on the state stage.
At that state meet, Jordan completed sixth within the 400 meters, and Davi was fourth within the 800 meters.
Then within the relay race, Davi set off with a blistering tempo, then got here Alex giving it her all because it was her solely occasion of the day. Jordan pushed arduous via her leg and handed off to Kirsten.
“Each certainly one of us ran a private greatest,” mentioned Kirsten. Within the last flip, she noticed she was behind the Grey Stone runner by most likely 50 meters however she was gaining.
She noticed Coach Donald Value (who died in 2016 from most cancers) on the backside of the stands exterior the monitor.
“Coach Value was standing there on the nook screaming at me, ‘You bought it! Go, go!’”
“Folks I competed towards all season had been cheering me on so arduous,” she mentioned with surprise. Her teammate Alex got here again down the within of the monitor on the grass and was working alongside Kirsten yelling encouragement.
“It was like everybody was rooting for me, and I used to be working as arduous as I may.”
In that final 100-meter stretch, Kirsten made up that 50-meter deficit and lunged throughout the end line a split-second sooner. Mount Ethereal was a whopping 23 seconds sooner than the regional race. Each groups broke the earlier state 1A report, and Mount Ethereal nonetheless holds the mark for the quickest time.
As if that wasn’t dramatic sufficient, this wasn’t the one shut end of the day for Parries. She additionally gained the 2-mile race by only a second and a half after as soon as once more coming from behind on the final straightaway. She beat Erin Brooks of Hendersonville with a time of 12:10.51 to 12:11.89.
In her junior and senior years, Kirsten continued to dominate all public faculty competitors. However, constitution/magnet faculties grew to become a much bigger drawback, particularly a brand new rival in Malia Ellington of Neighborhood College of Davidson.
Ellington would take the state cross nation title the subsequent two years. She additionally would sweep all three distance occasions on the state monitor and area meet in 2013, incomes gold within the 800, 1,600 and three,200.
Kirsten really held out of the 1,600 to relaxation for the three,200, however nonetheless couldn’t cease Ellington, who graduated with 17 gold medals, state information within the 800 and 1600, and a monitor scholarship to Harvard.
In her senior yr, Kirsten earned a Time Warner Cable Scholar-Athlete of the Week Award, was named the Northwest Convention runner of the yr, after which on the finish of the yr the general convention feminine athlete of the yr.
Wanting again now, Kirsten admits that she was targeted extra on athletics than lecturers her first two years. She didn’t make dangerous grades, she simply didn’t give it her greatest. By her senior yr she was taking dual-enrollment programs, incomes credit score for highschool and Surry Neighborhood School.
After graduating in 2014, she took a yr at SCC to get able to matriculate to UNC Chapel Hill.
In Might 2015, Kirsten was named certainly one of recipients of a Edward M. Armfield Sr. Basis Scholarship. The identical month, the Mount Ethereal Board of Training acknowledged Kirsten for her volunteer efforts, noting she had put in 88 hours of time.
By 2017 she graduated faculty with a bachelor’s diploma in nursing and have become a registered nurse.
She spent a yr in Novant Presbyterian Medical Heart in Charlotte. Then in July 2018 she moved to New York Metropolis.
“I really like the town,” she mentioned. “For the previous two years I’ve been working at Mount Sinai Hospital. I at the moment work within the pediatric ICU.”
Nonetheless not happy along with her schooling, she has begun taking lessons this fall via New York College to earn a grasp’s diploma in nursing so she will turn into a pediatric nurse practitioner.
”I positively like working with the children. It’s so enjoyable. … It’s so rewarding to see them get higher … particularly when they’re there for a very long time, or they’re there ceaselessly for a very long time.”
As if work and college aren’t sufficient, she and her highschool sweetheart are planning a marriage. After eight years collectively, she and Dylan Wright shall be tying the knot — in some unspecified time in the future.
What was it like being a nurse working in NYC throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?
“It was an expertise to say the least,” she mentioned. “In March it actually spiked. The hospitals, they had been overflowing. They constructed three models within the atrium and foyer right here. They put up these enormous tents throughout the road and in Central Park.”
She mentioned volunteers from church buildings and different teams would come to supply their assist.
Her pediatrics ICU was transformed to working with virus circumstances.
“They made it an grownup unit quickly,” she mentioned. Actually, all such specialised models within the hospital had been transformed to deal with the overflow of sick individuals.
Then there have been different different points that got here with the mass of individuals. The nurses ran out of protecting gear, and there have been conflicting studies about how the virus could possibly be handed from individual to individual. There wasn’t sufficient gear to go round to diagnose and deal with sufferers.
So many individuals died in a brief time period that the morgues couldn’t maintain all of them, she mentioned. A refrigerated 18-wheeler pulled as much as the hospital, and the useless had been hauled out to the truck for lack of room.
Kirsten would work shifts from 7 a.m. at some point to 7 a.m. the subsequent day, hopefully with time for a nap someplace alongside the best way.
It was so weird leaving the hospital at 7 a.m. as a result of usually there can be 1,000 to 2,000 individuals roaming the sidewalks of Madison Avenue and Park Avenue, however all of a sudden there was nobody out in any respect, she mentioned.
The group assist was good, although, she mentioned. Whereas the sidewalks had been naked at 7 a.m., one morning a lot of individuals simply getting up within the morning opened their home windows and beat on pots and pans to cheer the employees leaving their shifts. It was a welcomed contact to the weary workers, and it was repeated a number of mornings.
Listening to a crowd of individuals cheering for her is nothing new for a star athlete, however now it provides much more that means.