Q: How long have you been running competitively?
A: Since 11th grade.
Q: Did you ever play any other sports growing up?
A: I swam ever since I could walk, my dad used to be a swimmer and he started coaching me and my friends with an impromptu swim team when I was 4 or 5. I did that until Hurricane Irma wiped away the swim team and also kiteboarding.
Q: Why did you decide to take up cross country?
A: Since I didn’t have a sport to play after Hurricane Irma, I joined cross country purely to stay active at first, but then I really started enjoying it, and I became really close with the team even though it was only my first year. They are some of the friendliest and nicest people I’ve ever met!
Q: Now that you are into running, how much training do you do per day or week on a yearly basis?
A: About 20 hours per week for cross country.
Q: How does your training differ when you are in-season compared to offseason?
A: In-season, I run every single day. In the offseason, I run shorter distances and every other day.
Q: Do you really have downtime away from sports?
A: It’s all about finding a good balance, and my parents have done a really good job of teaching me how to control my time and be able to compartmentalize.
Q: Rating the sports you play versus academics, what’s most important in your life?
Q: Are the two close in ranking in life importance?
A: They interplay, sports allows me to de-stress from school and relax and school allows me to pursue my dreams.
Q: What skills do sports teach you that you apply to life?
A: Resilience and collaboration.
Q: What goals do you have for your senior year, academically and/or athletically?
A: I hope to get into one of my dream universities and finish off my high school with meaningful final sports seasons.
Q: What are your personal dreams?
A: I hope to do research in Theoretical Computer Science while at university and then go on to entrepreneurship in either computer algorithms or some other computer area.
Q: What is something you would want to do every day?
A: Go on a run!
Q: What has been your best high school sports moment?
A: Last year’s cross country regionals when we the girls team found out we got to states for the first time in 10 plus years.
Q: Any coaches, teachers, or family members who have helped you get to this point?
A: Coach James Murphy, and my parents, Galina Nikiforova, Andrey Nikiforov, who I run with all the time when I’m off season and keeps me active.
Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of sports?
A: I program a lot, competitively, and just building web sites. I actually have a web site building business: webstylesfl.com. I’m also in the marching band at the school.
Q: What are some challenges you’ve faced as a student-athlete?
A: Time management
Q: If you could add one hour to your day, what would you do with it?
A: Read more, I feel as if with all the time I spend on school and college and sports, I don’t have enough time to actually delve into advanced academic passions such as undergrad CS and quantum physics, and I hope that will change in college as I get to take classes on these interests.
Q: Do you have any college interests?
A: Theoretical Computer Science or Mathematics major with a secondary major or minor in physics/astrophysics. My dream schools are Caltech and MIT.
Q: What are your career aspirations?
A: Research or Entrepreneurship in Computer Science Theory with applications to computational science for example computational biology or physics.