Athlete Spotlight: Alexandra Bayliss

 Athlete Spotlight: Alexandra Bayliss

 Angela Benzigar ’22
Contributing Writer

 Alex Bayliss ’21 in her cross country uniform.

Western Reserve Academy hosts a wide range of athletic programs suitable for students at various levels while also providing an opportunity for athletes to shine! Leading the cross country team through another successful season this year is captain Alexandra Bayliss ’21, the athlete of the month! 

Alex did multiple sports growing up, ranging from netball and field hockey to horse riding and swimming. Regardless, running was not something that she particularly enjoyed. In terms of her cross country career, Alex remarked, “I switched to cross country my sophomore year after proving to myself during track freshman year that I could handle running,” allowing her to develop a greater interest in the sport, which leads to where she is today. 

The best part of cross country is the team spirit! Since everyone is in it together, they also grow stronger together. “There is a certain kind of bond that forms between teammates… it is the most amazing thing knowing that even if you have a bad race, your team will always be there to support you and help you up.” Being a student-athlete also helped Alex become a well-rounded person. She believes that exercise helps both physically and mentally, stating, “Workouts are always an outlet to release daily tension from my life in a productive manner. One of the biggest aspects of cross country is the team itself.” 

However, running has its challenges as well. Alex has asthma, and sometimes it gets to the point where she panics; nevertheless, she continues with determination towards the sweet satisfaction of winning. In terms of dealing with competition pressure, her go-to method is to stop and focus: taking a step back, talking to someone, getting it resolved and telling herself, “you are running, and you will run until you stop, and that is all.” She says there is only as much pressure as one puts on oneself. 

What advice does Alex have for other athletes? Don’t be afraid. Everyone starts somewhere. She recommends finding something that you truly enjoy, working on it and striving for improvement. She advises, “You will screw up more times than you care to admit, but ultimately, if you really love it, that is what matters. The skill, the endurance, the confidence will all come in time.”

After being injured almost every single season, unfortunately not sparing this one, it was hard for Alex since she is captain of the team. Due to her injuries, she had to miss the girls’ home meet. But through this she was able to realize that there were so many things that she was able to do to still make an impact and grow as a captain. Alex tells this reporter that, “I remain so proud of my team and would not have asked for it any other way.”

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