Creating her own lane: Carly Wilkes’ goals and humble spirit leads to success

GLENVAR, Va. – A well-rounded student with a well rounded aptitude in multiple sports.

“Yes I kind of did all rec sports when I was little and I excelled in most of them because I was fast.”

Being fast led Carly Wilkes to putting her best foot forward in running track and cross country. She excelled in middle school and when she reached high school, Wilkes began to set goals.

“I remember as a freshman talking to my parents like, ‘Do yout think I can eventually get one state title? I really just want at least one state title,’” said Wilkes.

That dream is now a reality as she holds nearly two dozen VHSL state titles--not only from track and cross country. Wilkes is also a state champion swimmer for the Highlanders.

“It’s been really fun to earn them individually and also being part of a team and being able to help us win several together as well,” said Wilkes.

“I think swimming has been a huge help for her. She’s been part of the swim team all 4 years I think but it’s gone hand in hand,” said Wilkes’ cross country and track coach Amanda Spradlin.

While the COVID-19 pandemic halted the careers of many of our local student athletes, not Carly Wilkes. Rather than stay in her lane she created her own--reaching out to college coaches for training tips on how to perfect her craft.

“Carly took it upon herself to continue to train upon her own and I think that made all the difference,” Spradlin said.

That self motivating spirit led to her commitment to Furman University.

“The Furman coaches reached out to me and seemed really invested in me,” said Wilkes.

With the VHSL State Finals this week and New Balance Nationals to follow, Wilkes leaves six simple yet motivating words.

“I’d say just continue to love what you do.”

About the Author:

Eric is no stranger to the Roanoke Valley. He is a Roanoke native and proud graduate of William Fleming High School.