Athlete Feature

Runner Rachel Hansen’s passion for sport

Natalie Gurian-West, Staff Reporter

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Rachel HansenAlenajade Prendez
Q: What are some recent athletic accomplishments of yours?

A: In cross country I made it to State, getting 12th at the District Championship race in South Whidbey. Also, the whole girl’s team got to state this year, which hasn’t happened since 2010. Since my freshmen year I wanted the girls team to make it to state, and I’m so happy that it finally happened my senior year.
Q: Why do you enjoy track and cross country?
A: Both cross country and track are sports that have a clear start and finish. I think that’s one of the reasons that I fell in love with running. When I finish a race, even if I didn’t do my best I get a feeling of being accomplished, because not every teenager is out running for enjoyment. Also, I’m a person that wants to be able to measure my improvement and by comparing my times I’m able to see what I need to work on to get to that time I want.
Q: What makes up for the constant practice in both sports?
A: Year round running/training for xc and track can definitely be tiring, but having supportive teammates makes it more fun. My teammates and I have “fun runs” sometimes where we go to the park and just play on the play sets and act like little kids again to take a break from the strenuous workouts. Also, food can be a great prize for training because knowing that we’re going to get ice cream after always helps.
Q: What do you struggle with in Track and Cross Country? How do you deal with those struggles?
A:For me, running can be hard physically, like when my body is exhausted from a tough workout, but more so it’s mentally very difficult. Running is a sport that takes a lot mental toughness, therefore endurance. Some days negative thoughts or doubt in myself are what hold me back, rather than my fitness level. For instance, I trained more than I ever have before for this season of xc, but I maintained the same times that I got last year because I didn’t believe I could do well. My mind plays a large role in my performance.
Q:What advice do you have for someone that is pursuing a school sport ?
A:I would tell students to take a leap of faith and at least try, even if it’s for only a week. My freshmen year I was so scared about joining cross country, because I had never really ran before, that I almost didn’t join. If I hadn’t joined my freshmen year I probably never would have and then I wouldn’t have met all the amazing people I did or had all the amazing experiences that I have had. Don’t let fear be what makes you not try a sport. Cross Country/track became a major part of my high school career and others shouldn’t miss out on the experiences they can have through any sport at Shorewood. Also, believe me there will be times you hate it, but if you push through you’ll see the reasons that you love the sport again.
Q: Do you have plans to continue either sport after high school (like at college)? Why or why not?

A:Yes, I’m currently looking into colleges that I could run for, but I want to find the right one. I don’t want to go to a college where I would be the fastest runner day one, because then I wouldn’t have others to push me. But, I also don’t want to go to a school where I would be the slowest runner because then I wouldn’t be able to get a scholarship. When I first started Cross Country freshman year I never thought I would run in college, but after running for 4 years it has become such a major part of my life that I don’t know how I would handle school without it. It might create stress but it also gives me an outlet to relieve stress.

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Athlete Feature