Athlete of the month: Hallie Muniz


Photo Courtsey of Hallie Muniz

WCHS junior Hallie Muniez running the 5k at cross country states where she placed 15th.

Running cross country after moving across the country, WCHS junior Hallie Muniz has become an important member of WCHS’ cross country and track teams. Although this is her first year running for WCHS, she has broken school records and improved herself as a runner.

Muniz originally played soccer, however, she started running for fun in middle school. Since then, she has greatly improved and decided to start running competitively and as her main sport.

“In 7th grade, my middle school had a PE unit for Track & Field. Being a competitive person, I set my mind to winning the ‘District Track Meet’ in the 800,” Muniz said. “After training for a month, I achieved my goal and quit soccer to spend more time running. For the entirety of 8th grade, I ran on my own around the neighborhood because of the freedom I felt in doing so.”

For her first two years of high school, Muniz ran in California at Los Alamitos High School. She moved to Potomac for her junior year and quickly became acclimated to the running environment at WCHS despite differences at her prior school.

“I experienced my first indoor track season here and learned to run in near freezing temperatures,” Muniez said. “I’ve been lucky enough to have two sets of coaches and teammates on both coasts. In California, the coaching staff had different philosophies about how to build the optimal runner. I’ve really enjoyed learning to trust both training agendas, even if they differ, and have become stronger at adapting and thriving in new circumstances.”

Although her time at WCHS has been short, Muniz has made many achievements here. She has ran many races, for both cross country and winter and spring track, has broken records, placed highly and grown as a runner.

“In cross country season, I finished 8th in the County and 15th at State and was Athlete of the Month,” Muniz said. “During indoor track, I broke the 1000m school record, running a time of 2:59. I was County Champion in the 800m and State Runner-Up in the 1600. I also placed 3rd at State in the 800. For my efforts in indoor track, I earned All-Met Honorable Mention. During outdoor track, I broke the 1600m school record running a time of 5:00.”

While Muniz is relatively new to WCHS’ cross country and track teams, it does not feel that way at all. Being on a team has allowed her to find a community of people who share the same love for running that she does and gives her support.

“I love being on the cross country and track team at Churchill because of the incredible support and friendships I have gained,” Muniz said. “I have never been on a team of athletes who care so deeply for one another and truly believe in each other’s ability to succeed.”

Muniz always strives to improve and is always willing to try her best. Her persistence inspires her teammates to also give it their all.

“I really look up to Hallie as a student athlete,” WCHS junior and tracker runner Jessie Lin said. “She’s a great athlete but she also works very hard and I aspire to be as driven as her. Her determination motivates the whole team.”

What makes Muniz not only a good teammate but also a good runner is the way she refuses to have a negative attitude about running and competing.. Not only does she do this, but she also encourages her teammates no matter what.

“The most noticeable aspect of Hallie’s personality, especially as a teammate, is by far her positivity,” WCHS junior and track runner Mira Wedam said. “She is someone you can count on to always have a smile on her face and to be extremely enthusiastic to run. Not only does she have this mindset for herself, but she constantly makes an effort to motivate her teammates as well. She is someone who excitedly celebrates every one of her teammates’ progress or uplifts them after a bad race.”

While she has achieved a great amount, Muniz’s running career has just begun. She has big goals for the rest of her time at WCHS and does not just plan to stop running after high school.

“I aim to break the school record in the 800 or 3200 this season or in my time at Churchill,” Muniz said. “I would love to further my running career collegiately to better my knowledge and ability in the sport. Most importantly, I hope to grow my passion for running even if conditions or workouts are tiring.”

While her achievements mean a lot to her, Muniz runs not only for her physical health but to improve herself as a person. While competition is important to her, her love for running is far deeper than that.

“To me, running is more than just a means to exercise and stay physically fit,” Muniz said. “Becoming a runner has made me a better person, as I live with more gratitude. While I run, I am grateful for the beauty of nature and that I have the ability to move my legs, an opportunity some do not get. As far as the competitive side of running goes, I love to push myself and always work towards reaching new limits. Running is an escape to release my emotions, whether I feel joy, stress, sadness, or anger.”