To no surprise Hannah Chappell-Dick (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) wins our Royals Athlete of the Week for her amazing performance in the regional meet this past weekend. A standout as a freshman in cross country and track, Hannah has returned to the cross country team this year after undergoing surgery this summer for a cyst on her heal. Having missed the majority of the season for her recovery, Hannah returned to run in just two meets before the regional race last Saturday.
While Hannah was out of commission to run, she picked up her cross training. Slowly but surely she started getting miles under her belt to work back up to her race pace. “It was great training with my teammates during my recovery stage,” she said. “They have been awesome supporters.”
Hannah’s first race back was the Blue Ridge Open on Oc.t 18. Her times were still strong even despite her recent return. Moving towards the regional meet Hannah explained that she really did not have any expectations. “Last year I had a lot to prove, but this year my injury allowed me to take a lot of pressure off myself,” she explained.
Leading up to the meet Coach Jason Lewkowicz told her what time she would need to target to make it to nationals. While her goal was to make it to nationals, she still did not allow that to put pressure on her performance. She did know that she could PR because it was going to be a fast course.
“My aerobic strength had improved greatly during my time off from running which really helped me return and run stronger,” commented Hannah. During the race Hannah claimed she really pushed herself the last mile. Towards the end of the race she could feel herself getting exhausted and roughly 50 meters before the finish line her vision became blurry and she fell on a black mat that looked like the finish line.
Not knowing that she had not finished, Hannah heard the EMU men’s runners yelling from the sidelines for her to get up and finish the race. Luckily the finish was downhill and she collapsed as she crossed what was really the finish line. Four runners passed her when she tripped, but her race was still strong enough to secure the final spot to nationals. Hannah explained that this was one of the best races, if not the best race, of her life.
Hannah will compete this Saturday morning at the NCAA National Championships in Hanover, Ind. Again, Hannah explains that she does not have any expectations, but she would still like to PR and beat one of her top ODAC rivals from Washington and Lee. Good luck, Hannah!
--- by Sue Kolb, Assistant Athletic Director for Student Athlete Well-Being