From the Outback of Australia to the snow-capped mountains of Utah, Cara Woolnough has hit the ground running — literally.
Woolnough’s mom and dad played a major role in helping her become a standout runner as well as getting her to attend the University of Utah. Woolnough’s dad, Chris Woolnough, helped her to check out different colleges and see just what it means to be a college athlete. Woolnough’s mom, Virginia Woolnough, showed her support by being at all of her meets as well as taking Woolnough out on runs with her. They were her first coaches and taught her a lot about what it means to be an athlete.
“She’s very determined,” said Chris Woolnough. ”If she was given a program, she’d stick with a program intensely. She’s always been that way and she’s always enjoyed it and wanted to be the best runner and student that she could be.”
She not only was a standout on the track for Utah this year, but also a standout in the classroom. Woolnough earned a first team Pac-12 All-Academic Student Athlete nod in 2018.
“Academics mean a lot to me and has always been first priority,” Woolnough said. “Knowing that I have a future in a professional atmosphere has always been very important to me.”
Woolnough is majoring in biomedical engineering here at the U and hopes to end up somewhere in prosthetics on the bio-mechanical side of biomedical engineering. In high school, she had an interest in math and science, which propelled her to choose her major.
“I went to an all-girls high school back in Australia and was involved in all kinds of sports,” she said. “I was the sports captain in my final year of high school in touch football, surf life saving and running.”
Her athletic ability has taken her all over the world, including competing in places like Budapest, Hungary with the World School Cross Country Team as she ran for her home country of Australia.
“The race was really cool and the people that I met I still keep in touch with,” Woolnough said. “It meant so much and to be able to compete for Australia was amazing. The whole experience is something that I’ll never forget.”
Woolnough suffered a leg injury before she got to Utah and had to redshirt her freshman season. Through Woolnough’s hard work and determination, along with the help of head coach Kyle Kepler and the training staff, she’s been able to get back on the track and begin the season on a strong note. Woolnough finished in first place in the Colorado Invitational after running a 4:55.33 in the mile race and she hopes to continue her successes in future meets.
“Coach Kepler and Mackenzie have been outstanding in the experience that we’ve had,” said Chris Woolnough. “We’ve really appreciated how they’ve been with helping Cara throughout her time at Utah.”
During her time off, Woolnough loves to visit Park City and enjoys being near the mountains. She also enjoys being with the friends she has made during her time in Utah.
When she is deciding between a Tim Tam or Vegemite, she said that there is nothing like a good Vegemite sandwich. “You have to have it with avocado, an egg and some cheese,” she said. “A Vegemite and cheese sandwich is pretty good.”