Freshman Hannah Nichols (Fredericksburg, Va./Chancellor) has transitioned nicely into collegiate running for the EMU track & field team. Despite working with some nervousness at her meet last weekend, Hannah pushed through that to earn her first Royals Athlete of the Week award early in her EMU career.
At the Finn Pincus Invite, she finished second in the 400m with a time of 1:01.37. The time is good for third in the ODAC this season. She finished only behind a runner from D-I Wingate in the race.
She then ran in the non-traditional distance of 600m, winning the race with a time of 1:39.78. She also ranks fourth in the ODAC in the 800m, despite not running in that race this past weekend.
“I was extremely nervous,” Hannah said of last weekend’s race. “But when I finally got to the line and heard the gun, I was hungry for the win.”
Hannah explained that she had not run the 400m since her junior year of high school, but with her college career beginning, she is ready to try new things and take on new challenges for the Royals.
“Both races felt great,” she explained. “Running the 600m was a surprise, but I’m glad that I decided to do it.”
Being a high school athlete just a year ago, the changes in the competitive nature of collegiate track & field is more noticeable for Hannah. She states that the intensity necessary in practice is much more prominent than in her years before.
“Honestly, I did not prepare for how competitive college sports would be,” Hannah said. “I was expecting wins to come easy but I was wrong.”
With the new platform of competition at Hannah’s feet, her training sessions have become more in-depth than when she was in high school. With new unique practices and help from her teammates and coaches, Hannah has seen improvements that she is happy with and which help build her confidence on the track.
“I remember thinking ‘seriously, coach, this is pointless,’ and next thing I know I’m PRing by 20 seconds,” Hannah said of her training. “This team has been eye opening and I can’t say thank you enough to the program and people that have come into my life because of it.”
Coach Isaac Bryan has been happy with Hannah’s performance and work ethic so far in her career.
“Hannah has been running very well this past few weeks,” Coach Bryan stated. “She's got a lot of talent, but more importantly she's a competitor. Hannah works extremely hard and expects a lot out of herself.”
On top of being a prominent middle-distance runner for the track & field team, Hannah also spent the offseason improving her stamina by running for the cross country team.
With her college years only beginning, Hannah is still deciding on her future vocation, but speaks of her love for helping others and an adventurous career.
“I love people and I want to go into a career where I can be surrounded by new ideas and constant change,” Hannah explained.
This weekend, Hannah will travel with her Eastern Mennonite teammates to Winston-Salem, N.C. for the UCS Invitational as the men and women gear up for the ODAC Championships on Feb. 26.
-- by Jake Brown, Sports Information Intern