GLEN CARBON - Elena Rybak shows great potential for the spring for the Father McGivney Catholic girls' track and field team. Only a freshman, Elena blazed to a first place in the Indoor State Championships with a time of 5:08.

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The Griffins’ 4 x 800 relay team placed fourth in the state indoors with a time of 10:15. Elena is a Byron, Carlson Petri & Kalb Female Athlete of the Month.

Elena is the ultimate competitor, she drives at a remarkable pace from start to finish. When she starts a race, an onlooker can see her concentration in her eyes. She is on the track to excel and win whenever possible.

Her distance coach Jim Helton says Eleana’s potential for the future is simply unlimited. Russ Hart is Elena’s head coach for McGivney track and field and he agreed with Helton's assessment of Elena.

Elena started her track and field and running career in fifth grade.

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“I enjoy running because I love to compete, and the feeling of crossing the line at the end of a tough race is priceless,” she said. “My parents are very supportive of me and always encourage me to work hard. My teammates push me in practice and make running fun. My coaches believe in me and strive for me to always improve and get better.

“Sports have taught me the importance of hard work, dedication, and humbleness.”

Elena is a high honor student at McGivney. In her free time, Elena loves to hike and do other sports.

The McGivney Catholic distance star said an injury at the end of the fall cross country season was devastating to her, but she used it as motivation to train even harder for track indoors and this spring.

“My goal this season is to lead a relay team to the outdoor state meet, whether that be in the 4 x 800, or 4 x 400, and also compete as an individual in the 800 meters or 1600 meters.

Elena said she wants to run cross country and track in college, but is uncertain what school she will attend.

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