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12 Sports Athlete of the Week: Liberty’s Aliya Todd

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CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Liberty cross country junior, Aliya Todd, is coming into her own this season.

She’s been on an impressive streak over the last few weeks, having won each of the last three meets that she’s competed in. For that, she’s also this week’s 12 Sports Athlete of the Week.

Todd is an accomplished track & field athlete, and soccer player, but after the last few weeks, she can certainly add ‘standout cross country runner’ to her list of accolades.

“I think as I finish out this season, I just want to focus on doing what I can do to help the team, and just keep going forward individually,” Todd said. “I don’t know if I hit a true potential yet, since it’s just my first year. So, I’ll definitely start building up for next year.”

Todd had never competed in cross country prior to this year. After learning the ropes through the first month of the season, she’s now won three straight meets.

The first came on her home course at Liberty High School. Another came two weeks later in Shinnston. In between those wins, Todd earned the distinction as the top girls runner in Harrison County.

Todd appears to have tapped into her full potential, and it shows that she’s learned from the biggest difference she’s seen between track and cross country.

“For track you can see how far you’ve got to run. You can see where you need to start speeding up and kicking it in. But you can’t see that in cross country,” Todd said. “In cross country you’ve got to keep the same pace the same time, or go a little faster than what you’re comfortable with or uncomfortable with. Whereas in track, it’s just you can see the finish line.”

Aliya Todd loves running. She admitted that she doesn’t know why sometimes, but she does.

It’s part of what drew her to cross country. That, along with a little badgering from a coach.

“I saw here up here, and she worked out for me one day, and I said you need to be on the cross country team,” said Liberty track & field and cross country coach, Jerry Burgess.

It’s a sentiment that he’s shared with 12 Sports before. Burgess know Todd would excel in this sport that would be new to her.

“And then over the track season, we got a greater bond, while he trained with me over track, too. They’ve all impacted my life, really,” Todd said.

Todd has competed at the state track meet in Charleston as part of the Mountaineers relay team, but has her eyes set on the state cross country meet in Ona.

She’s continuing to hone in and improve on the skills that have made her successful thus far, and hopes those skills can take her on a journey that she’s growing more fond of every time she competes.

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