BY ED WRIGHT
April 1, 2010, 10:30 p.m.
A converted soccer player, Paula Green still has a kick, but it usually doesn't emerge until the final lap of her long-distance track-and-field races.
The Plymouth senior's sport shift has gone flawlessly as she quickly established herself one of the Wildcats' cross country and track teams' most consistent performers.
Green was voted as one of the team's four captains this spring, a responsibility she takes great pride in. Her running skills are matched by her academic talents as she carries a 3.85 grade-point average into her final months of high school.
Green, who will seek a nursing degree beginning next fall at Eastern Michigan University's Honor College, took a few minutes away from practice Wednesday to speak with PlymouthCantonSports.com's Ed Wright.
ED WRIGHT: How did you get into long-distance running?
PAULA GREEN: I wasn't always a runner. I played soccer growing up and during my freshman year at Plymouth, but in the fall of my freshman year, I was like, 'I'm going to run cross country. I liked running so much that I gave up soccer my sophomore year and ran track.
EW: What events do you run in track?
PG: I run the four-by-800 relay, the mile and the two mile.
EW: How did you do in cross country this past season?
PG: I did O.K. Most of the season I guess I was No. 1 and I finished with a personal-best time of 20:17.
EW: What do you think about when you're running?
PG: Nothing, really. Because our races are so long, I'm usually thinking 'How many laps do I have left?' (smile).
EW: Do you listen to headphones when you train?
PG: I never have. Since we're always running such long distances, we normally run together and talk amongst ourselves.
EW: What's been your career highlight so far?
PG: Last year in track I ran a 5:39 mile, then I dropped the mile before the big meets and finished fifth in the conference meet in the two mile, then I got fourth at the Regional meet. The state cut was 11:39 and my best time was 11:59, so I'm hoping I can get to the state meet this year.
EW: Do you think you have a good shot?
PG: I think so because last year from the beginning of the season to the end, I dropped about a minute-and-a-half from my time, so this year I just need to drop another 20 seconds.
EW: How many miles would you estimate you run a week?
PG: About 25 miles during track season because we usually run shorter distances in workouts.
EW: Have you had to deal with any injuries or adversity during your career?
PG: I have about five different things I'm dealing with right now (smile). I have shin splints and I have a bad foot problem. Once my running career is over, I'll probably have to have surgery on my foot, but until then I'll just tough it out.
EW: How to you get through those tough times when you're body is telling you it wants to stop running?
PG: It depends on who I'm racing against. If it's against a rival like Canton, I just tell myself I have to beat her, no matter how I feel. You have to be mentally tough.
EW: What do you like about this year's team?
PG: We're more together than last year. Last year, the distance runners would practice at a different time than the sprinters. This year, we all stretch and workout at the same time, so we're more unified.
EW: Do you want to run in college?
PG: I'm going to Eastern and I could run there, but I haven't decided if I want to yet. I know I want to run a marathon someday.
EW: What's your ultimate goal this season?
PG: I want to break 11:39 in the two mile and make it to the state meet.