Freshman Hannah Arnspiger can run two and a half miles in 16 minutes and five seconds. That’s a varsity time. This time might lead one to believe that she has had extensive training for years, but in truth, she ran for the first time in July. Even then, she was running with the varsity girls.
When Arnspiger and her friends decided to join cross country they were in the eighth grade at Indian Hills Middle School, Arnspiger was simply going to do it for the social aspect.
Because she did summer gym, she missed the first half of the summer running group which met Monday through Thursday. At the beginning, she didn’t run faster or slower than anyone else.
When head coach Tricia Beaham offered the opportunity to run farther to anyone who felt like doing more than two miles, Arnspiger was the only one who remained besides returning varsity and junior varsity runners. That day, they did an intense track workout, but she was able to keep up.
“They’re like my mommies,” Arnspiger said of the other varsity runners. “All nine of them.”
Arnspiger finished third at the time trial and was placed on varsity.
Her family and friends were shocked, but supporting. Her parents have been to every single event, even the long run and the cross country picnic. They’ve been to every meet, including the Layola Lakefront Invitational in Chicago where Arnspiger placed first for the East girls and 20th overall.
Beaham, who has coached cross country at East for 13 years has had about a dozen freshman make varsity.
“It’s always exciting to see somebody as a freshman excel – especially at the varsity level,” Beaham said.
Every single one of Arnspiger’s freshman friends made the C-team, but Arnspiger never regrets being where she is now. She loves varsity, she loves the coaches and she loves the sport.