Growing up, the twins, Aubre Gilreath and Halle Gilreath had no idea where running cross country would take them.
It started in the seventh grade when Aubre started to run for her school.
“My mom made me go to one cross country practice, and I have been doing it ever since,” Aubre said.
Soon after, Halle began to run with her sister, after a family member told her she could be just as fast as her sister.
“We have always been really competitive,” Aubre said “We push each other to go faster and to work harder.”
Going into high school, the two ran cross country for Rogers high school, where both of them competed in multiple 7A State meets. Aubre placed 3rd in the 7A state meet with a time of 19:08.6 and was an All-State selection. Halle finished 2nd with a time of 19:08.4 and was also an All-State selection. Both were named team captain for a season in Rogers.
A big reason they chose to come to Arkansas Tech to be a Golden Sun was the opportunity they were given to run for Tech for scholarship money.
“I always knew I would have to pay for my college, and this was a great opportunity to get it paid for,” Halle said. “We also knew a girl on the team, Cami Hedstrom; she enjoyed it, and we really enjoyed her, and she helped us decide where to go.”
Both of the girls received many offers ranging from many schools like Arkansas State and University of Arkansas at Little Rock to North Carolina in Greensboro and University of New Orleans.
“I actually called Tech to tell them about me and then we set up a date to visit,” Halle said. “We got to come up here and visit and the coach did a lot of the same stuff we already did in high school, so it seemed like an easy fit.”
When running for Tech, both of the girls push each other hard in order to keep trying to beat their own times.
“It is all about improvement,” Aubre said. “What it means to us is not only to better ourselves but to help better our team as a whole.”
During the season, the Golden Suns competed in many meets with Aubre leading the team. Not too far behind her was her sister Halle. The Golden Suns finished the season strong by placing 1st in their last two meets and finishing 4th in the GAC championship meet with Aubre and Halle leading the way. Aubre finished 16th in the race placing 1st for the Golden Suns with a time of 19:57.3. Halle came next with a time of 20:25.6 and placing 25th overall.
Being freshmen with some of the best times on the team can be intimidating for them and for other upperclassman who look to compete with them as they compete against other schools. Both of the girls said that they look up to many of the upperclassmen and learn from them.
“I look up to Cami a lot,” Aubre said.
“She is a really good person to look up to,” Halle said.
Cross country is a sport that requires a very different type of mentality and determination that most sports don’t require. Both Aubre and Halle enjoy running and like to push themselves harder each time.
“I like it because you don’t know a lot of people to talk cross country to, so you get to have those people who you can talk to,” Halle said.
“I think people who are cross country runners tend to have a more hard-working personality not just in running but in life,” Aubre said.
Both Aubre and Halle want to improve and work harder toward getting better times so that one day they can lead the Golden Suns cross country team to a championship win.