With a smile and a sign of the pen, Janamay Carothers committed to being a walk-on member of the Cottey College Cross Country and Track Team.

The signing on Friday, Feb. 8, is one of many taking place this spring at Grove High School as athletes prepare for their collegiate careers.

As he spoke about Carothers, Coach Warren Brumley said she is always present, ready for practice with "a smile on her face."

"I appreciate that kind of attitude," Brumley said. "She always puts out an effort, runs hard and is there for her teammates."

Carothers, the daughter of Angela Carothers and Tony Bruns and Brian Carothers, plans to attend the all-girls school in Nevada, Missouri, in order to pursue a teaching career. 

She would like to focus on English and Speech, while coaching track and cross country.

"Teachers have helped me out and I wanted to do the same [for others]," Carothers said. "I love to run and want to help others."

More about Carothers

She began running track as a seventh grader in Fairland. She moved to Grove at the start of her sophomore year and joined both the track and cross country teams.

"I started to run one day and it just made me feel free," Carothers said. "I love to run."

Carothers primarily runs the mile and two mile for the Ridgerunners. She'll start off in those events at college, knowing her new coaches plan to move her to longer distances as she improves her times. 

"I like the longer runs," Carothers said. "It just makes me happy when I run."

Outside of athletics, Carothers is part of Interact, the youth Rotary club at GHS, as well as the Math, Speech and Spanish Clubs. 

For now, Carothers is focusing on graduation. She carries a small rubber duck, bearing the name of her future school as a talisman. 

While Cottey College's mascot is the comet, the traditional freshman mascot is a rubber duck. Freshman are "encouraged," she explained with a laugh, not to say the word "duck" in any form, lest they be pranked by upperclassmen.