By Julian Brenman ’20
In the most literal sense of the phrase, Gabby Wilkinson ‘18 has hit the ground running with her budding career in cross-country and track & field. Wilkinson has been running for ten years, including six at Friends’ Central. She set a personal record by running 800 meters in a time of two minutes and six seconds. This is the second fastest time that has ever been run by a high schooler in the state of Pennsylvania. As a result of her tremendous talent and dedication, Wilkinson was recently recruited by the University of Florida (UF) to run for its Division 1 track & field program. Gabby signed a letter of intent and is excited to “become a gator!”
Wilkinson shares the following thoughts about running for UF: “I am excited to be a part of such a professional environment; [to be running] with people who are going to push for their goals on the track and off the track. [The University of Florida has] had student-athletes who have gone to compete in the Olympics. They also have a great coaching staff. I am excited to be studying physiology and kinesiology, which are on the sports medicine track.”
Wilkinson, a nationally-acclaimed high school athlete, predicts how running in college will be different from running in high school, stating, “It will be a lot harder than running in high school but I’m excited.” She affirms that Friends’ Central will always have a spot in her rapidly-beating heart. She says, “I love Friends’ Central. I think what makes us so special is that we’re a well-rounded school. Everyone has high aspirations in different areas which is really cool. I would like to thank Mrs. Crowley and all of my coaches for everything they’ve done for me over the years.”
While Wilkinson admits that being such an active runner has its share of downsides, including having to participate in “lots of different workouts” and “extensive training,” she is overwhelmingly passionate about the sport. She proclaims, “I enjoy traveling to different meets and meeting my competitors. I love exercising and fitness, so being able to run on the track with my teammates, and being able to travel and meet new people is very fun.”
Wilkinson has competed in many prestigious competitions, including the USA Juniors Meet in Sacramento where she achieved third place. She also ran in the New Balance International Meet and in the Philadelphia-based Penn Relays. In 2015, Wilkinson was named co-high school athlete of the year in Pennsylvania. In addition to running at Friends’ Central, she is involved with the Mount Airy Track Club.
Izzy MacFarlane ‘20 has been Gabby’s teammate for the past two years, and shares her words of admiration of her teammate-turned-friend: “Gabby is the greatest runner I have ever run with. She works so hard and has such a raw natural talent for track. I love her. Also, Gabby is such a great teammate. She helps us through every hard workout and we can always hear her cheer for us during meets.” Wilkinson comments, “My parents and my sister are my biggest fans. My dad always tells me to breathe and remain calm. I get anxious before meets, so his advice helps.”
The Friends’ Central community is extremely proud of Gabby Wilkinson and wishes her continued luck as she accepts new challenges and continues on her high-speed and incredible track.