Who we are: Grace Driskill
“To be able to compete in my hometown is something very special. Growing up in Tucson, university is a big deal. I went to football games and saw everyone wearing Arizona gear so it’s very cool to be part of this program now. It just makes sense to me. “ – Grace Driskill
Cross-country skiing / athletics
Head: Computer science
Hometown: Tusson, Aris.
From the outstanding local high school athlete to one of the top performing wildcat long distance runners, Grace Driskill represented Tucson proudly and with determination. Just stepping down the street from her alma mater, University High School, Driskill realizes the importance of training and racing in her hometown.
“Being able to compete in my hometown is very special,” said Driskill. “I grew up in Tucson and university is a big deal. I would go to football games and see everyone in Arizona gear, so it’s very cool to be part of this program now. It just makes sense to me.”
In her first year in Arizona in 2020, Driskill was unable to experience a normal fall cross-country season due to COVID-19. Although it was a shortened winter season, 2020-21 had many notable highlights for the newcomer Wildcat. She finished in the top 10 in both cross-country races of the regular season and was among the top three finishers for the women in all three encounters. She went on to measure a 6k PR time of 21: 07.3 in the Pac-12 championships.
During the outdoor athletics season, she competed in both the 5000m and 1500m run and ran a 1500m PR of 4: 38.08 and the second fastest 5000m performance of the women with a Time of 17: 07.99.
While her Tucson roots may have given her a unique connection to college, growing up in Wildcat Country wasn’t Driskill’s only connection to the program. Her aunt Amy Skieresz was one of the most dominant runners in school history, taking home seven NCAA titles during her career as a 10-time All-American. Having come from elite runners, it’s no surprise that Driskill has already taken a leadership position in her short time on the program.
“It was very special to compete for the same school as my aunt,” said Driskill. “I asked her for tips on certain aspects of running and she gave some of her advice. It has been helpful to share that point of view, especially from someone in my family I know so well.”
Driskill is certainly not lacking in guidance, with an aunt like Skieresz and a trainer like Bernard Lagatwho has taken over the management of the cross-country skiing program this season. Lagat had one of the most successful careers in the sport, holding five American records as a five-time Olympian.
“The training with trainer Lagat is great. He ran at such a high level that he knows so much about running from his own experience. He has helped me gain the confidence to be really competitive during the races and in practice to compete with myself. Sometimes, especially when transitioning from high school to college, it can be difficult to be sure of yourself. “
It certainly feels like Driskill found that confidence and made her move as a Wildcat. Now that she is able to compete in a fall cross-country season as she is used to, Driskill and her teammates are determined to make the most of the season. She competed in the George Kyte Invitational kick-off 2021 on September 4, leading the women’s team with a 2.5 mile time of 4:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. to finish in seventh place. She finished her race on a strong kick, making her the top ranked wildcat of the meeting and showing off her competitive flare that has rightly earned her the nickname Dragon on her team.
Now in her sophomore year in Arizona, Driskill still has plenty of room to grow and prove herself a force in the distance running scene, and it’s safe to say that her hometown of Tucson will have her all the way back.