Senior Danae Rivers of Wilbur Cross has developed into such a dominant runner in the state that she was expected to win, or at least be one of the top finishers, every time she stepped onto the track the past three indoor track seasons.
No hyberbole, no pressure, no exaggeration, just a fact.
Her goal heading into the recent indoor track postseason was simple. She wanted to run smart in the 1,000-meter and 1,600 events and set a state record in the 1,000 at the CIAC State Open. Everything went according to plan with Rivers setting a State Open record in winning the 1,000 in 2 minutes, 50.26 seconds, breaking her own mark of 2:53.01 set last season. She won the 1,600 in 4:53.88.
As effortless as it looks for Rivers when you watch her glide around a track, she is the first to tell you her success is more than the special God-given talent within her.
“When I first came to high school I knew the potential I had with the skill set I have,” Rivers said. “But I have had to work very hard. I can’t just rely on my talent. If I want to keep being successful I have to keep putting in the work.
“Running has always been fun for me and I love it but I have always had to work hard to be successful.”
At the recent New England Championships she was second in the 1000 in 2:50.68. At Class L she won the 1000 (2:52.97, meet record) and was second in the 1600 (5:07.18).
For her effort, Rivers has been selected the Register All-Area Indoor Track Most Valuable Player for the third straight season.
“Since Danae stepped foot in Wilbur Cross, she has always been improving every workout, practice and meet,” Wilbur Cross coach Travis Gale said. “She truly is an inspiration to her peers and obviously her coaches. She continues to improve and her indoor track season was successful, setting the Connecticut record in the 1000.
“Her strength has been and will continue to be improving herself not only as a runner but as a young adult. She has learned a lot about herself and what she can do to better herself as a whole person. I have not been surprised with her success because her ability to work hard and the experiences she has had with track since her being a youth has helped. She will continue to be successful in her future on and off the track.”
She will continue her career in the upcoming outdoor track season where she has been selected the All-Area MVP the last two seasons. As Rivers experiences some mixed emotions with her high school career coming to a close, she will take her talent to the next level. She will compete in outdoor and indoor track at Penn State.
“I was happy to get the state record in the (indoor) 1000,” Rivers said. “Actually, it was more relief after I did it. I’m looking forward to the outdoor season and I’m looking forward to running at Penn State.”