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Hardin distance standout Karis Brightwings-Pease driven by faith, teammates

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Posted at 8:45 AM, Mar 29, 2024

LAUREL — The high school track and field season is officially under way, and Hardin superstar freshman Karis Brightwings-Pease is quickly establishing herself as one of the state's best.

Brightwings-Pease is a two-time State A cross country champion and won the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs at last spring's State A track and field meet as an eighth-grader, and she seems unfazed by the pressure of those moments.

"Just her maturity level, and she knows where she wants to be and she's going to do whatever it takes to get there," coach Cindy Farmer said. "She's going to do all the right things in practice and out of practice. She's going to set that standard."

Faith is also something that drives Brightwings-Pease. In fact, she ran Friday afternoon with a Bible verse, Philippians 4:13, written on her right leg.

"I just use it in all my sports — 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' So when I feel like I'm not strong enough, that's what I think of," Brightwings-Pease said.

It isn't often Brightwings-Pease runs alone, even with her outstanding times. That's because teammates Mariah Aragon and Zoey Real Bird have helped form quite the trio.

"They push me. Most of them I look up to. I look up to Mariah. I'm glad to have her as a teammate," Brightwings-Pease said. "I just use everybody as fuel, motivation. I know lots of people can keep up and have the strength, so I just use that as fuel."

Brightwings-Pease was blazing on Thursday, winning the 1,600 in 5:48.41 and the 3,200 in 11:35.35 at the Laurel Opener. Real Bird placed second in both races, and Aragon was third in the 1,600.