Shirley Bird: A Humble Blessing

Shirley Estes has had an impressive senior season, playing a major role as a varsity contribution in every race this year. Estes opened the season with a solid two-mile race, splitting a solid 6:41 and 6:43, earning twenty-seventhth against stiff competition with a 13:24 finish. She followed this performance with a 25:26 effort in the 6k at at the Wheaton meet. Estes would then improve this time significantly at Olivet, cranking out an impressive 20:46 and finishing 30th out of 129 competitors. The Bradley Pink Classic is one of the most difficult courses that Greenville takes on and Estes managed to score serious points, finishing thirtieth out of 92 finishers and time of 24:50. Then at the conference meet, she led the Panthers into the high stakes SLIAC  conference meet, earning second team All-Conference with eighth place and putting up an extraordinary time of 24:08 in the 6k.

Shirley Estes (far right) and senior teammates.
Source: Dylon Niswonger

A leader is a combination of multiple attributes, but the most commonly  overlooked character trait is integrity. Individuals often receive leadership positions because of their natural ability to communicate or take charge. Half of the time leadership is earned by rank, whether it be age or experience, but too often the leader who lives with humility and authenticity is taken for granted. The Greenville University cross country team has had some tremendous leaders that have all been beneficial to the cross country team’s athletic program in many ways, athletically and socially. This season, one of the women’s cross country seniors has helped lead the team with not only the best effort athletically, but a genuine interest and positivity for and toward the fellow members of her team. Shirley Estes has been a valued asset to her team throughout the past four years.

This information and statistics are especially interesting because Estes can hardly recall half of it. She will tell you that she does not run for the times or for placement or even specifically the glory that comes with running exceptionally. Estes runs her best every race, but most importantly she runs for the team. She does not have a single care for her place on varsity. However, she does take responsibility for her performance and promises to always give her best. The significance of running is in the relationships she has with the people she’s running with, “I could live without running, but what’s really important are the people on the team,” Estes stated. This attitude shows each and every day and the team would testify that she has a sincere love for the friends she’s made through this sport. Estes was also nominated for the SLIAC conference team All-Sportsmanship Award, which was no surprise to anyone considering her notoriously positive presence on the team.

Shirley Estes and Kori Nesbit.
Source: Dylon Niswonger

Estes has served as a critical component of the cross country team. Estes brings a positive attitude to every practice and brings her best effort to every race. She scores points on the cross country course while building others up in practice. Estes is a blessing to the Greenville Women’s cross country team.


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