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ALL-COUNTY GIRLS TRACK & FIELD ATHLETE OF THE YEAR: Madelynne Cadeau, South Forsyth
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South Forsyth's Madelynne Cadeau put together the county's best girls distance running season in the county, finishing second and third in the 3,200 and 1,600 meter runs at the Class 7A state meet. - photo by Ian Frazer

Madelynne Cadeau just loves to run.

She doesn’t much care if it’s on a track or a cross country course – “To be honest, I don’t know,” she said when asked of her preference – and has developed a list of races she wants to try soon. She’d be up to do a 5K or 10K on a track, when the number of laps climb into the double digits, and the steeplechase, which involves leaping over a hurdle and into shallow water.

Cadeau pairs that passion and curiosity with natural talent and disciplined, fastidious attitude to training, and stellar results have come along with it. This spring, she was easily the best distance runner in the county and one of the best in the state: The rising senior at South Forsyth won both the 1600 and 3200 meter runs at the Region 5-7A championship meet, and at the state meet, Cadeau finished second in Class 7A in the 3200 and third in the 1600, both in personal best times.

“Going into track season, I just wanted to have fun and give my best effort, and just lay it all out on the track,” Cadeau said.

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As she gets into her college recruiting process, Cadeau has her sights set on a state title next year. - photo by Ian Frazer

This all came after a cross country season that was also among the best in the state. In the fall, Cadeau finished third in Class 7A and then 25th at the Foot Locker South Regional. She also competed at the national level in the spring, taking 12th overall in the two mile at the New Balance Nationals Outdoor meet on June 15.

If there was any major challenge that Cadeau faced this spring, it might have been that of adapting to not having much competition. She won her first 3200 of the year by more than a minute and her second, at the region championship meet, by 17 seconds, and took first at sectionals by more than 30 seconds.

Cadeau has a few strategies to deal with that: She tries to lap people, and she keeps an eye on her watch, trying to hit her splits. She won’t complain about winning races, but she’ll also admit that there’s a unique rush to especially close ones.

“I think that being in a race that’s a tough one and having to compete with people is something that’s much more rewarding than winning by 45 seconds,” Cadeau said.

Cadeau likely has plenty of new experiences ahead in her running career. She’s ready to get into the college recruiting process, and she has her sights on a state title next fall, in cross country or on the track.

There is one race that Cadeau would be fine with not running again. Early in the season, her coaches put her in the 400 meters, just to try something new. She wound up finishing 14th overall, in 1:04.63.

But, true to form, Cadeau still looks at the experience from an analytical perspective. If it can make her better or even just expand her horizons as a runner, it can’t be all bad.

“It works that speed and allows you to get a gauge on how fast you can spring and go at the end of a mile or a two mile, so I think it was important that I raced it,” Cadeau said.

“But it’s not something I want to race on a regular basis.”