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Resilient Runner Faith Franklin

(This article was written by Abigail Muñiz-Garcia and appeared in the May 2024 issue of Explore Harlingen Magazine.)

Photo courtesy of Faith Franklin.

Cookies Over Texas. That’s Harlingen’s track star Faith Franklin’s favorite ice-cream flavor and her go-to dessert especially after a day on the track. “Every night I would eat four scoops of ice cream. Every single night, specifically the HEB brand… it’s so good,” Franklin said.

When Harlingen High School track and field coach, Hickel Woolery, suggested the Vanderbilt signee cut out sugar leading up to the end of the season, Franklin listened. “I do whatever he tells me to do, and I believe everything he says. There’s no way I’d be national champion right now without him.”

Woolery has been Franklin’s coach since her freshman year. “She’s definitely a coachable athlete. She listens, she asks questions, is always hungry, and she never thinks she’s fast. She always knows there are people that are faster than her, so she knows she has to put in that work,” he said.

Photo courtesy of Faith Franklin.

According to Woolery, one word that would describe Franklin: resilience. “Everything that has presented itself in her way has been overcome,” Woolery added.

Franklin, a Harlingen High School senior, holds Rio Grande Valley high school track records for the 100, 200, and 400-meter dash runs. When she wasn’t on the track, Franklin hung out on the sidelines as she was part of the Cardinals cheer team all four years of high school as well.

She ran in early March at the 400-meter dash event during the New Balance Nationals Indoor National Championships in Boston, Massachusetts. The best high school runners in the nation in track and field are invited to compete at this event.

Photo courtesy of Faith Franklin.

“It was so scary,” Franklin remarked of her experience. She also mentioned that she started getting nervous about the race a month before. She was able to push through the nerves though and snag gold at the race. “The experience was incredible. I came back a better athlete, for sure,” she said.

Franklin wasn’t always a gold-medal winner.

“She has realized that she is one of the top athletes in the nation. She wasn’t that in the beginning,” Woolery said. It has taken a lot of work for Franklin to get to where she is at now. “It’s a progression. She wasn’t just ready-made… what you see and know is from years of working hard,” he said.

Franklin has advice for other student athletes: don’t focus on the things you can’t control. “I feel like once you learn how to focus on the things that you can control, then your life will just be so much easier, and you are able to overcome your battles and obstacles. If you put it in your mind that you can do it, then you can for sure accomplish it,” she said.

Photo courtesy of Faith Franklin.

What does the future hold for Franklin? In the fall she will attend Vanderbilt University where she will be part of the track and field team. When asked where she sees herself in 10 years, Franklin’s sights are set on obtaining an Olympic medal, possibly a World medal and becoming either a dentist or oral surgeon. Family is very important to her as she spoke of being close to her parents and siblings. In 10 years, she hopes to be married with a family of her own and “maybe one kid.”

“I don’t know. We will see,” Franklin says with a smile.

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