NEW Campbellville Secondary School fifth former, Cassie Small, admits that she is not fully 100 percent ready for next week’s National Schools Championships (Nationals), having put her athletics on hold as she prepares for her CSEC exams. However the 17-year-old is still looking forward to see how it goes.“To be honest I wouldn’t say that I’m that fully prepared, I only started training a few weeks now, but I’m going in with a strong mindset hoping to do my best as always,” Small shared.Cassie Small“I don’t underestimate anyone but I am always confident in myself and as I always say I am in it to win it.”Small admits that it’s often hard for her to balance her athletics and her academics, but with high hopes for both areas, she tries to make the best of things as much as she possibly can.“It’s nothing easy balancing both track and studies and all these things, but hopefully I take it as far as possible,” said Small, who shared her aspirations of studying medicine, but also to take her athletic pursuits as far as she possibly can.Small will be representing East Georgetown (District 12) at the weeklong competition that will see rivalry in age-group swimming, cycling and track & field competitions. She’ll be in the Girls’ Under-20 category where she will have a packed week competing in the 100m, 200m, 400m, as well as the 4x100m and 4x400m relays.This will be her first year in the Under-20 category, after exiting the Under-18 category last year with a gold medal in the 100m and silver from the 200m.However, the super upcoming Runners Athletics Club athlete is hoping to lean on the experience that she picked up earlier this year, which included her participation at the Penn Relays as well as a six-month training stint that she did in New York.She will also be able to lean on her five years of experience at Nationals. Small first began participating at Nationals in 2011, when she finally decided that she was ready to take her athletic skills seriously.But for Small her athletic capabilities go way farther back than that.“I’ve always been running for as long as I can remember. Every time I would get sent somewhere, or go to the shop I would run. My grandmother used to joke and call me “Running Brave daughter” because of how much I used to run all the time,” Small said.Although she did some running while she was young, it was Mercury Fast Laners athletics club coach, Christopher Gaskin, who finally convinced Small to take her running seriously and join his club, in 2011. She saw the fruits almost instantly.Then as a student of the Thomas Moore Primary, Small landed a place on the South Georgetown (District 12) team to Nationals, competing in all the sprints of the Girls’ Under-12 category. She copped gold in all three events.She has never missed a year at Nationals since, racking up quite the haul of medals along the way, and this year she’s very much looking to increase the tally.