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Ukrainian Exchange Student Adjusts to New Life by Running

By Sarah Zimmerman

On Friday, Aug. 26, Anastasia Krasun competed in the First Capital Cross Country Meet for their first meet of the season. The JV boys and girls ran together in a 5K race around the park at 5:15 p.m. Clayton High School took first place. (Photo by Alex Rowe)
Anastasia Krasun competes in the First Capital Cross Country Meet (Alex Rowe)

After years of aspiring to travel to the U.S., Ukrainian foreign-exchange student Anastasia “Stas” Krasun has finally made it and is living her American dream while learning to fit in and adjust to U.S. culture by running with the cross country team for the first time.

“I knew that I always wanted [to come to the U.S.], so I’m just really happy and blessed, and technically I’m living the dream,” Krasun said.

However, living the dream requires leaving everything she was used to in Ukraine. To face the new world, the cross country team helps guide Krasun in her school and social life.

“They definitely support me in making friends and knowing each other better,” Krasun said. “They definitely help me adjust in the school life and every time I see each of them in the  school they say hi and act like we’re best friends, so they’re very helpful in this point.”

Not only has she received help from her fellow cross-country runners and friends, but she’s already left her mark on the team by bringing a new attitude and motivation to the team.

“She’s a really positive person and I think she’s really bringing a lot of excitement and different experiences,” sophomore teammate Hannah DeGraw said. “She’s a really supportive teammate and it’s really nice having her on the team for that.”

Both students and coaches have high hopes for the season with the runners encouraging each other as they continue to strive for greatness. By pushing each other both during the runs and in school, the cross country team aspires to have a great season, with special anticipation for Krasun’s first season ever.

“I think she’ll do well as long as she pushes herself in practice and keeps working away up the ranks,” Head Coach Kim Martin said.

As everyone perseveres to meet their personal finish lines, Krasun sprints throughout the season with a certain special smile, making her optimism for the season contagious.

“I just love it and I think that our team is just great and will improve and develop and grow and it’s going to be a great season,” Krasun said. “It’s anyway going to be a great season for me because it’s my one and only cross country season so I’m just super thankful and appreciative for what I have and the people around me everyday in these practices, especially coaches and friends.”