Photo courtesy UNC Athletic Communications
When your mom is a former college track runner, the general assumption is that you will follow
suit, at least in terms of giving the sport a try. That wasn’t the case for Caroline Alcorta. Even though her mom had put the idea of running her head early on, her freshman year of high school she played field hockey in the fall instead of cross country. Even then though, her favorite part of playing field hockey was the running aspect which she described as a “sign.” That winter, she ran indoor track and “stuck with it ever since,” she says.
Hailing from Springfield, Virginia, Alcorta took an unofficial visit to North Carolina during her
junior year of high school, describing it as the “first imprint of what I had imagined my college
experience to be like.” On that visit she realized that she had found the place she wanted to be for the four years after high school.
Alcorta has since gone on to an All-ACC performance in cross country, finishing 12th at the
Conference Championship meet her sophomore year. Last season, however, she hit a bit of a speed bump. After getting off to a good start, which included winning both the Elon Opener and the Adidas XC Challenge, Alcorta was hit with the injury bug and missed the remainder of the season. She says she doesn’t know if she will take her fifth year of eligibility with the Tar Heels or if this will in fact be her final season at UNC and for that reason, she does feel a bit of a sense of urgency.
"This could be my last season wearing Carolina blue, so I still have to prove myself,” she says. It is clear that Alcorta wants to not only get back to that All-ACC level, but improve upon it as well.
Reflecting on her career and what she still has left in herself to prove seemed to bring out in Alcorta the kind of emotion one feels when faced with the end of a long and arduous journey.
Alcorta is hopeful about the prospects of the team as a whole this season, saying that they have the distinction this year of having contributors from all classes after losing no runners from last
year’s team. As an individual, she seems ready and eager to get back to where she once was, and reach greater heights.
Look for Caroline Alcorta to run with a greater sense of having something to prove, and if she stays healthy, she could be in for a huge return in 2017.