“We walked back to the finish, and see Miss Norway, tops in the world for 20 years, coming in first. Then we see the Swedish gal coming in. Then, in the last corner, all of a sudden we see two heads, and one of them was Lily’s,” said Diane Stewart.
“So she’s battling it out for bronze. And it was like somebody else’s life. It was just amazing.”
It was a busy winter for Stewart, who balances school work, weekday track practices (she runs the 2-mile event), and dog-sled racing. Her Ipswich High track coach, Gardy O’Flynn, said she has an innate ability to compete that’s been honed through running the dogs.
“You could tell that her determination and her willingness to compete has been tested in her previous experiences with dog-sled racing,” said O’Flynn. “She really improved as the year went on. She picked up some valuable points in several of our meets in our undefeated season. So she did a tremendous job.”
A simple description of Stewart is reminiscent of the old adage that pets often resemble their owners. She is a dedicated athlete with a sweet disposition, and an insatiable hunger to be at the front of the pack.
Diane Stewart noted that her daughter has successfully maintained perspective, and friendships, within the dog-sledding community.
“But on race day,” she said, “her game face is on.”
Brion O’Connor can be reached at email@example.com.