Entering the 2010 Cross Country season, the Lady Tigers were faced with the daunting task of replacing Jenna Davidner, their number one runner and one of the most dominant in recent memory. Along with the loss of several other top performers from the 2009 season, the new void had the girls’ future looking uncertain.
Enter Shannon Hickey. After two stellar but fairly under-the-radar years running for OA, the junior stepped up in a big way this fall, taking over the top spot on the team and posting a 19:37 personal best in the 5k. Her successes have continued through the winter and spring, culminating in a fifth place finish in the mile and a key leg on the 4x800 relay team that finished second at the last Thursday.
“I was content with my race, but I'm hoping to do better at Class,” said Hickey, still looking to take her performance to the next level. “I want to PR in the mile and break 2:30 for my split in the 4x800 relay. I really want to qualify for the State meet either in the mile, relay, or both.”
Hickey’s excellent performances and work ethic have been noticed by peers and earned her captaincy of the cross country and winter track teams, and the outdoor team is likely to make a similar decision in the upcoming weeks. Speaking to her about the honor reveals that she is well prepared and suited for the role:
“Being captain means a lot to me,” she says. “Most importantly, it means that my teammates look up to me and think of me as a role model. Next year as captain I hope I can help my teammates with anything - whether it’s running form, race strategy, or anything else - to make the season successful and enjoyable for everyone.”
Perhaps the biggest responsibility of cross country and track captain is leading the offseason training of the team, and Shannon is poised to fulfill it. Like dozens of captains before her, she will be leading pre-season practices this summer, and with the exception of the occasional week off, Hickey will likely be running six days per week all throughout her senior year. And all the while, she will be leading the universal runners’ battle for self-improvement.
“Right now I’m working on bringing down my training pace, which will hopefully translate into being able to run faster for longer in races,” she says.
With college right around the corner, Shannon takes the relaxed approach to a stressful subject; she still remains unsure of her most desired schools and undecided on what she wants to study. She has also been in contact with coaches who want to bring her talents to their team in two years.
In the meantime, Oliver Ames needs to start preparing for those two years to pass as well – because they’ll need to face the daunting new task of replacing Shannon Hickey.