COVINGTON — Hannah Shoemaker’s “aha moment” in track came during her sophomore season. She was posting similar times to her then-senior teammates in relay events, it just didn’t sink in.
“I never imagined I’d be as good or as fast as I am right now,” said Shoemaker, now a senior at Anna High School. “I always thought, okay I’ll will some races here and there. It really took my coaches to be like, ‘No Hannah, you’re doing great. You can do something with this. You can go far.’ That’s how I started realizing I could make it past districts and to regionals and to state. I realized, wow, I can compete with these other people.”
Two seasons later the “aha” has turned into oohs and aahs — and five school records.
Shoemaker’s fast track to success continued Friday when she won the 100- and 200-meter dashes and swept the 100 and 300 hurdles at the Covington Invitational. Her effort helped the girls team win the title with 117 points and beat runner-up Milton-Union’s 93 points. The boys also won the team championship with a 122-85 victory over runner-up Covington.
Shoemaker’s competed in just about everything in track. She excels in sprints. She’s one of the state’s top Division II hurdlers in the 300. She’s a standout pole vaulter. She’s even done middle distance and long jump.
Shoemaker holds the school record in the 300 hurdles (44.30) and pole vault (10-4). She’s also a member of the record-holding 400 relay (49.47), 800 relay (1:42.15) and 1,600 relay (3:56.31). She’s No. 2 in the 200 at 26.30 and still chasing Sarah Bruce’s 25.87 set in 2010.
“She’s fast but what puts her over the top is she’s competitive,” said Anna girls track coach Bryan Rioch. “She’s tough. She’s one of the toughest kids I’ve ever been around. She was able to be part of a team a couple years ago that won state. She was around girls who are the same type of kid — fast, tough, good leaders.”
Rioch said if Shoemaker, who stands about 5-3, was about eight inches taller she could be a world-class decathlete. She’s fine with being a state-caliber standout. Shoemaker finished fifth in the 300 hurdles at the D-II state meet last season in 44.30.
She was also a key contributor to Anna’s D-III state title team in 2017. She celebrated the title beside her sister, Rachel, now attending Ohio State University and a member of the club cheer team. As for Hannah, she’s committed to run for Bowling Green State University next season.
“It’s crazy. I didn’t even think I was good enough to run in college,” Shoemaker said. “I’d watch them on TV and they were so much faster. Letters started coming asking if I wanted to check out their program. I fell in love with the team, the coach and everything.”
Her favorite event is the 300 hurdles. It’s the challenge of sprinting 300 meters with a twist – those eight hurdles to leap. Shoemaker attacks the race like she does her duties as a senior leader. Rioch said if there was a checklist for what you want in a student-athlete — behavior, character, leadership and ability — then Shoemaker would check all the boxes.
“She does a good job of leading by example,” he said. “At practice she sets the tone. She does a nice job of teaching the younger kids how to be good teammates. We have a couple talented freshmen and she’s doing a really nice job of passing the torch to those kids. Showing them how you prepare both mentally and physically. It’s going to be hard to replace that.”
Added Shoemaker: “I love being able to watch the rest of the team grow. I love cheering them on and I’ve already seen growth in them. It’s a really fun atmosphere where seniors and freshmen can be on the same team and all get better.”
Also at the Covington Invitational on Friday:
• Russia’s Ella Hoehne, Anna Fiessinger, Claire Meyer and Becca Seger won the 3,200 relay in 10:14.55. Seger also won the 800 run in 2:28.73 and Sarah Pinchot claimed the girls pole vault in 9-0.
• Houston’s Ava Knouff swept the 1,600 run in 5:32.11 and the 3,200 in 12:51.02.
• Anna’s 800 relay team of Lauren Stephens, Camryn Wilson, Chloe Baughman and Kaitlyn Harris won in 1:51.27.
• Anna’s Jeffrey Richards won both the 100 in 11.26 and 200 in 23.14 and teammate Colton Nanik won the 300 hurdles in 41.64.
• Houston’s boys team of Tristin Freistuhler, Ethan Knouff, Blake Jacobs and Joseph Earl won the 3,200 in 8:32.47. Knouff also won the 800 in 2:03.07 and Freistuhler won the 3,200 in 10:35.63.