Salute to Seniors: Hannah Birdsall of Shore Regional HS

Salute To Seniors is a medium for "senior farewells". We wanted to give everyone a chance to salute them one more time as well as invite those seniors to tell their stories from the past four years. We will be posting this series through July, and already have a number of submissions, if you would like to submit check out this article for how to do so.

--- -|- ---

Hannah Birdsall

Shore Regional HS

What was your most memorable race?

My most memorable race would be Group 1 state championships outdoor of my Freshman year, where I placed second in the 400m dash with a time of 57.73. I was still new to the 400m, and didn't run to win, ran for the experience of being at states. As a freshman, I didn't know that placing second was a huge accomplishment, especially with that time.

Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

My biggest competition was probably Corina Vidal of Henry Hudson. Both of us are strong 800m runners and were able to compete against one another for faster times and work off one another, especially in sectionals and states this past outdoor season. She's going to do big things and I look forward to seeing how her senior year goes for her!

What was your greatest accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment was breaking my own school record this past outdoor season in the 800m. My coach always told me in order to run a fast 800m, I had to take the first lap out fast (rather than trying to negative split, which I would attempt and run the same time). After seeing someone in the first heat run 2:17 (my PR at the time), that definitely fired me up and I took the first 400 out in 64. Though I closed to run a 2:16 and had a goal to break the meet record of 2:15, I am very happy I was able to run a fast time like that.

If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running or field career in high school?

I definitely would have stepped up to run the 800m earlier, as I only started racing it my Sophomore outdoor season. I was still playing soccer before that, and the idea of running the 800m was a little intimidating.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

The most difficult obstacle we had to overcome (as a team) was the passing of our teammate, Aleka Damiano, in 2017. This was right after soccer season so we were mourning the loss when the indoor season began. As a team, we were able to be there for one another and that brought us closer together. Now, even as a senior going into college, I run for her and will always be Aleka Strong.

What will you miss the most?

I will definitely miss my teammates and coaches the most; we worked hard and overall was a very successful team despite being a small school. Also, my friendships with people from all over the state is something I am going to miss.

What advice would you give to younger athletes?

My advice for younger athletes is don't be afraid. Track is a sport that you can learn a lot from and gain amazing opportunities from if you allow it to. Don't be afraid to push yourself, you may not think it but you can be capable of amazing things. And, have fun with it too!

What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?

My coach (Coach Mel) has put a lot of time, effort, and care into me for the past four years. He took the time to take me to the next level of running. Even if it was a small form critique or making jokes during workouts, Coach Mel cares about each and every one of his athletes and pushes them to be the best versions of themselves.

What are your post-high school or college plans?

My college plans are to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Rhode Island. I will also be majoring in Communicative Sciences and Disorders with a minor in Spanish.

Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?

Thank you to my family- Mom, Dad, Casey, and Krissy for always believing in me and being by my side for four years. Also, thank you to my teammates- I would not be where I am if it were not for you all. You are some of my best friends and I can't wait to see where all of you go. Finally, thank you to Coach Mel, Coach Laron, Coach Tarpey, and Coach P- you all had significant impacts in my career at Shore, and you taught me life lessons that I will carry with me into the future.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Shoutout to Corina, Amanda, Colleen, Sarah, and Devin (of course!)

And follow me on instagram @hannahbirdsall_

Rhody! Rhody! Rhody!