Track championships get underway today
DUNN COUNTY HERALD
In North Dakota, you can contain the wind but you can’t stop it. The same can be said about Shawnee Hansen’s will to win.
Like the wind, the Killdeer sophomore sprinter is unrelenting. She’s runs with a combination of power and grace and speed and courage. And she’s goooood.
Over the past few years, Hansen has made an annual trek to the North Dakota State High School Track and Field Championships. As an eighth-grader, she qualified in four events. Last year, she upped the ante to five.
After winning the 100-meter dash in the Region 5 track meet last week in Beach, Hansen reached the double trifecta. She had previously qualified for state in the 200-meter and 400-meter dashes, as well as the 400-, 800-, 1,600-meter relays.
“I knew this was it if I wanted to get six,” seconds. Hansen said, moments after outracing the rest of the field in 12.59.
When she stepped into the blocks, there was an ever-so-slight breeze. And on this day, nobody was going to stop the wind.
She broke from the blocks and was running stride-for-stride with Bowman County’s Cassidy Walby. At the midway point, the wind picked up and away Hansen went surging ahead for the victory.
“At the 50, I said “this is it,’” Hansen said. “I definitely picked it up.”
She’s not sure what events she will be competing. But you know she’s going to run like the wind.
When the season started, however, things were pretty bleak for Hansen. In fact, it looked like the sophomore would be humbled this season following ankle injury suffered during basketball season.
Some might have been blown away after suffering an injury that threatened to sideline her. Not Hansen. No way.
She actually tore a tendon in January during basketball season. She was a starter on the team, and refused to give in. She taped it up and played through the pain. Hansen’s scrappy play helped the Cowboys make it to the Region 7 semifinals.
But after falling to Bowman County in the semifinals, Hansen started thinking about the upcoming track season. Hansen knew that to compete at her very best, she would have to be at her very best. Doctors put her foot in a cast to repair the injury.
She was on crutches for five weeks, and four of those her foot was in a cast. The fifth week, Hansen was fitted for a walking boot.
By this time, track season had started. She missed the first two track meets, and it was killing her.
But her desire never wilted, though it wavered in the wind a few times.
The day after she had the walking boot removed, Hansen joined the team with eagerness and a little apprehension. She jogged around the track for about 10 minutes but felt some pain. So she eased off and started several stretching exercises the school trainers gave her.
She did those stretches where ever and whenever she could – at school and at home.
After about a week, she was able to run without pain. And her season started at the Bowman County track meet on April 18. She entered the 200, and came in fourth with a time of 28.99.
She was out of shape. And she was humbled by that turtle-like time.
“It was frustrating because I wasn’t where I was last year,” Hansen said, adding that she had a tiny sliver of doubt.
But as quickly as those negative thoughts entered her mind, she shoved them right out.
“No excuses,” she said with a grin. “I just told myself I could do this. This wasn’t going to hold me back.”
Nope, you can’t stop the wind.
“She has a positive attitude,” said her coach, Janis Harris. “Shawnee is such a competitor. She never gives up.”
And now she has hit her stride again, Hansen isn’t slowing down.
“I still have work to do. I’m happy that I qualified in the events, but I’m not satisfied,” Hansen said.