MARION – Pleasant High School senior cross country runner Hannah Peltier was as surprised as she was successful in October.
The daughter of Dave and Cindy Peltier of Marion and the Fahey Bank’s Female Athlete of the Month for October was the Division III girls Central District champion.
She was timed in 19 minutes, 54 seconds to best a district field of 64 runners at Watkins Memorial High School.
Yet she wasn’t aware she had won for a while.
“I was really surprised I was first,” Peltier said. “I thought the Newark Catholic runners were well ahead of me and I just couldn’t see them. I went to get a drink of water in the cool-down area right after I finished the race and saw there was no one else in there.
“I had to ask if I finished first and I was told I had. I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I won!’ My goal had been to finish in the top 16 to go to the regional meet.”
She admitted she had no expectations the week before heading into the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference meet at Kokosing Lake Wildlife Area near Fredericktown.
Despite that, she was also a winner there in a personal-best time of 19:45 in a field of 62 competitors.
“Going into that race I just wanted to be positive and finish in the top seven for first-team MOAC,” Peltier said. “So I was also surprised to finish first there.
“Within the first 800 meters at the MOAC, I was behind a group and then I hit the first downhill. I sprinted down it and used it to get into first place and I just stayed there.”
Peltier had warmed up for the postseason by racing fourth out of 97 runners in 20:33 at the North Union Invitational and placing 17th out of 109 participants in 20:11 in the Marion Harding Invitational.
A team captain who possesses a 3.67 grade-point average, Peltier completed her season for the fourth time in a regional meet. This one was at Troy where she was 46th in 21:20.
“I was in the top 10 the first mile and then I had a huge cramp,” Peltier said. “I was just trying to finish the race from there.
“My teammate, Kamryn Kimmel, pushed me through and let me finish ahead of her because she knew how much it meant to me.”
Peltier said she approaches each race in basically the same way.
“I like to be not in the front pack but ahead of the middle pack,” she said. “If I go out ahead, I know I will die. I like the encouragement I get from passing people.”
Peltier may have been stunned by the way she finished in the MOAC and district races, but she may have been the only one who was startled with her results.
“I struggled in the early part of the season with an iron deficiency, but I got that taken care of,” Peltier said. “My mom and dad pushed me through, and my dad then said I would surprise everyone at the end of the season.
“I was definitely surprised, but my dad probably wasn’t.”
Hannah Slane, Ridgedale volleyball
Brianna Appelfeller, Elgin volleyball
Brianna Lee, River Valley volleyball
Taylor McIntire, Marion Harding volleyball