Caledonia High School senior Caitlyn Nodine poses for a picture with members of her family Wednesday at a signing ceremony to celebrate her decision to run cross country and to compete in track and field at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus. Standing behind Caitlyn are her grandfather, Hud Hudnall; her father, Patrick Parker; her mother, Holly Parker; her sisters, Abigail and LilyRose; and her grandmother, Judith. Photo by: Adam Minichino/Dispatch Staff
December 12, 2018 11:05:18 PM
CALEDONIA -- Caitlyn Nodine hates to lose.
Before you say you've heard that one, consider the lengths Nodine will go to make sure she gives her best when she competes.
"If I'm not throwing up or crying when I finish, then I didn't run my best," Nodine said.
That comment should give you a better idea about Nodine's love for running. Nodine's competitive fires first stirred in elementary school and through middle school, where she met Danny Martinez, who helped her train for five years in the Corpus Christi, Texas, area.
Nodine remained passionate about running, cross country, and track and field after she and her family moved from Texas to Mississippi. For the last three years, Nodine has been a standout on the Caledonia High School cross country and track and field teams.
On Wednesday, Nodine's love for the sports helped pave the way for her to earn a chance to continue her athletic career at the Mississippi University for Women.
Nodine plans to study nursing at the four-year school in Columbus. She will join the cross country program coached by Morgan Turnipseed and be one of the first members of the school's new track and field team, which is scheduled to compete in 2019-20.
"I've always loved running," Nodine said. "It's just kind of a love-at-first-sight thing."
Caitlyn's mother, Holly Parker, who has coached her since she started running in the fourth grade, said she doesn't know what about running clicked with her daughter. She said Caitlyn was part of a team that participated in the Beach to Bay Marathon in the fourth grade. The 26.2-mile course begins on North Padre Island and winds through Naval Air Station Corpus Christi (Texas) and ends at Cole Park along Corpus Christi's scenic downtown. As a member of the team, Caitlyn did a four- to five-mile portion of the race.
From there, Holly said Caitlyn's after-school running program at Luther Jones Elementary School led to the cross country and track and field teams at Grant Middle School, which helped Nodine's love for the sport blossom. Caitlyn was an all-area runner in cross country and a champion in the 800, 1,600, and 3,200 as a freshman at Veterans Memorial High School in Corpus Christi before she and her family moved to Caledonia prior to the start of her sophomore year in high school.
Earlier this month, Caitlyn was captain for Team Sunshine at the St. Jude's Marathon in Memphis, Tennessee. Nodine and teammates Cassidy Brown, Christie Brown, Abby Jacobs, Heather Logan, Sunny Logan, Elayna McKee, Tyler Merlin, LilyRose Nodine, Holly Parker, Patrick Parker, Cooper Stanley, and Patti Stanley competed to raise money for St. Jude. Sunny, who is a standout tennis player at Caledonia High, is a cancer survivor.
As a sophomore, Nodine finished 10th in the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A meet (22 minutes, 08.10 seconds). She took 36th in the meet as a junior and 33rd in the meet last month.
Nodine said The W always has interested her. She said the return of sports to the school made it an even more appealing destination. She feels the success she has had growing up -- she had 31 ribbons and medals either arranged on the table in front her or in a container -- will help her compete in college. She said it has been an "eye-opener" going from a big school in Texas to a smaller school in Mississippi, but she said she has developed confidence in the last three years and become more of a leader.
"She loved it from the beginning," Caitlyn's mother, Holly, said. "We were blessed in fourth grade because there was a coach who did an after-school running program. Then they did the Beach to Bay Marathon. She trained with him and she fell in love with running."
Follow Dispatch sports editor Adam Minichino on Twitter @ctsportseditor
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