Talawanda runner leads team in senior season – Oxford Observer
Officials shout a list of commands, a gunshot goes off, and runners rush onto the track. But Hannah Lippincott, waiting for her race, hears nothing of it.
It’s a normal race day for Lippincott.
She stands alone on the field in the center of the track, away from all her teammates and opponents. Spikes laced, legs warmed up and stretched, as the sound of Fall Out Boy plays through his headphones. Isolation and focus on the race ahead is what she says is the best recipe for her success.
As a senior at Talawanda High School this year, Lippincott is an established star in the SWOC of the Southwest Ohio Conference). As a junior, she led the 2021 Talawanda Women’s Athletics Team to their third SWOC title, while winning the SWOC Female Athlete of the Year award. Now in her final season, she poses a triple threat to conference opponents, competing in 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meter races.
As dominant as she has been as an individual runner, Lippincott says her primary focus is the team she leads.
“For SWOC it’s mostly like how can I get the most points for the team to win?” said Lippincott. “Our team also won SWOC that year (2021), and that was honestly more what I was focused on than like winning SWOC Athlete of the Year.”
Lippincott began racing competitively in college, after a few friends joined the team. After falling quickly in her first year of competition, she became motivated to keep going.
Although most track events involve individual athletes racing individual races, Lippincott said she thinks it’s actually more of a team sport than people realize.
“I like the team aspect of the track, because it’s a small group, I’ve had the same teammates for almost six years,” she said. “I just love how everyone is super competitive, but we understand what everyone is going through, so we all support each other.”
She said she feels a strong sense of responsibility to the team, especially at competitions where the number of events she has to organize can seem overwhelming.
“It’s just going to bring down the team culture if you complain about it, so you just have to go ahead and respect your coach’s decisions,” she said.
Lippincott’s hard work and ability to persevere did not go unnoticed.
“Hannah is one of the most coachable athletes I’ve ever coached,” said Talawanda distance coach Brad Mills. “She wants to be well informed; she not only wants to know what she is doing, but why. She wants to know what will make her better and she is extremely tough.
What sets Lippincott apart as an outstanding team athlete to those around her is her ability to stay humble, even when she’s often ahead of the pack in a race.
“Don’t be cocky,” Lippincott said. “Just support each other, talk to everyone and congratulate your teammates after their runs.”
Lippincott and teammate Ellie Garland have been friends since sixth grade. When they’re not on the trail together, they can be found at Cobblestone Church, hiking or watching a movie together on a Saturday night.
Garland said she was not only impressed with Lippincott’s athletic abilities, but her academics as well. She ranks high in her class.
“She’s a good athlete because she’s very good at perseverance, but she does that in all aspects of her life, whether it’s at school, with health issues and, of course, in race,” Garland said.
Besides being a star on the track, Lippincott runs cross country in the fall, swims in the winter and is a member of the National Honor Society.
“It’s easier to be competitive when you stop focusing on the seriousness of the situation and instead focus on the people in front or behind you,” Lippincott said. “I have to tell myself to enjoy it a lot when it’s tough, basically I just tell myself to go all the way, keep going.”
His schedule will only intensify in the months to come.
In the fall, Lippincott plans to attend the University of Miami as a RedHawk Athletics favorite.
“I’m excited to train with people who are faster than me, to have people to look up to and to see them motivating me to be better,” she said.