Olivia Derr, daughter of Julie and Ron Derr, is a senior at Ravenwood High School and a member of the Varsity Cross Country Team.
Her personal record time is 19:42 in a 5k. She is also a two-time team State Champion. The team also came in All-Midstate this year as well as the 2016-2017 year.
Before she was ever a runner, Derr was a gymnast. In sixth grade, she said, she decided to quit and wanted to try another sport. She said that soon after choosing cross country, she grew to love running and has loved it ever since.
When asked what inspires her to train and compete she said, “I want to push myself to my limit. Running is such a mentally challenging sport and it’s rewarding when I finish a tough workout or race that I thought I couldn’t get through. It shows that I was mentally strong enough.”
One of her biggest role models is her mother, Julie. “She is a runner herself and she lives a healthy lifestyle that I admire,” she said.
Derr listed her best friend, Annika Sleenhof, as one of her role models.
“[She] is an extremely talented runner,” she said. “She has faced many obstacles, but she never gives up. Her energetic personality always makes spending time with her fun.”
Head Varsity Cross Country Coach Peter Mueller said of her:
Time flies. Just ask senior Olivia Derr, who recently finished her high school cross country career at Ravenwood. It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since she was a seventh grader running in our middle school conditioning camps. Since then she has run at State three times, been part of two State Championships, earned All Mid State and All Region citations, and most importantly, developed friendships that will last a lifetime… She has been an inspiration to her teammates, coach, and family and will be missed.
When she’s not running, she enjoys going on hikes, scouting out new vegan restaurants, and listening to music in the car.
After graduating, she plans to go to college to pursue a degree in engineering. She said one of her biggest passions is preserving the environment, so she hopes to possibly pursue a career as an environmental engineer.