Athletes Worth Watching: Shannon Bettinger
Oct 16, 2014 12:40PM ● Published by Jake Russell
Running serves different purposes for different people. In the case of Shannon Bettinger, she uses it as an opportunity to focus and relieve stress.
“Running relaxes me and allows me to escape everything for a little bit,” she says. “My life would be totally different without cross country and track.”
“Sports are a part of who I am,” she says. “Being able to release energy and tension while at the same time [getting to] be with my friends only makes other aspects of daily life better.”
Shannon played soccer for eight years before beginning track as a freshman and cross country as a sophomore, where she quickly developed a rapport with her team.
Bettinger’s top racing moment came during her freshman year at outdoor track regionals where she ran her fastest mile and finished in sixth place. Her 4x800 team qualified for states at the same meet.
“We had a magical run that doesn’t happen very often. We loved being that ‘surprise’ team,” she says.
Now a senior, she hopes to create moments just like those and is working harder than ever.
“Although my preparation hasn’t changed, my determination and drive has intensified knowing that this is my last year.”
As a runner, it’s no surprise she gravitates toward a highly regarded former Olympian as motivation.
“I look up to Steve Prefontaine because of his determination,” she says. “Whenever I’m in a slump, whether it’s in athletics or I just feel stressed, watching the movie ‘Prefontaine’ always gives me a boost of energy and drive.”
When Shannon is not running around, she is still very active.
She is the senior class president and is involved in the French Honor Society, Art Honor Society, National Honor Society, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She is also involved in her local church’s youth group where she has helped organize 70 school kits for needy families, participated in mission trips to Portland, Me., New Orleans, and El Salvador, and organized a group of teammates to make dinners and bag lunches for homeless residents who seek shelter at her church.
She is applying to High Point University, UMBC, Lebanon Valley College, University of Delaware, and University of Central Arkansas, where she hopes to major in physical therapy or education.
By Jake Russell