There are many student athletes at OC who continue to pursue their sport in college. Among those talented students is senior Hannah Schupansky, who committed to Yale for cross country and track. I recently had the chance to interview Hannah about her thoughts on running and the recruitment process:
When did you start running cross country/track?
I started running cross country in second grade. I didn’t start track until high school, though.
When did you know running was your passion?
At first, I only ran because I wanted to be with my friends, but once I came to OC I became part of a group that really loved running. They inspired me to work hard and to take running more seriously, and I “fell in love” with it!
Do you prefer one sport more than the other? (i.e. cross country over track or vice versa)
Although I think I’m slightly better at track, I have always liked cross country a little better. Cross country tends to be more interesting because you’re usually running through the woods or on an interesting course rather than in circles a bunch of times.
What is your favorite memory from XC or track?
Definitely the first time I won the WPIAL championship. I did not expect to win, so there wasn’t any pressure going into the race, and it was super exciting to cross the finish line. It was also the first time I ever ran under 18 minutes. On top of that, our entire team came together to beat the number one team in the state and win the team title, too, so everyone was really happy that day.
What is your greatest achievement throughout your experience running at OC?
I think my greatest achievement is just coming as far as I have. Coming in as a freshman I had never run more than two miles in my life, but at the first practice I ever went to, George told us to run “an easy five miles”. I seriously considered just going home at that point, but now five miles is only half of what I run almost daily. Running has really shown me that I can accomplish a lot more than I ever thought I could.
What ultimately made you choose Yale?
During the recruiting process, I had the chance to stay at all of the schools I was seriously looking at. These visits really helped me to figure out which school I felt most comfortable at. When I was at Yale there was a great sense of community. Everyone I met genuinely wanted to get to know me, which made me feel like I belonged there. All of the schools I was looking at were great academically, but Yale was the only one where I felt welcomed by all of the students (not just the CC team).
What do you plan on studying?
I’m not 100% sure, but right now I’m leaning towards neuroscience.
What was the most difficult part of the recruitment process?
Probably the fact that it goes on forever. I started getting letters from colleges the summer after my sophomore year and took my first athletic visit before Christmas as a junior. The recruiting process is basically like a super extended college interview. I also hate phone calls, so calling coaches was a personal struggle.
Any advice for underclassmen interested in doing a sport in college?
I would just say to focus on what you are doing now. Constantly worrying about playing in college won’t help anything and will only stress you out. Also, reach out to coaches and make yourself available. Coaches talk to a lot of people, so they are more likely to talk to the recruits who are easiest to communicate with. And be yourself! The people you meet during the recruiting process are your potential teammates for 4 years. You want to make sure that you like them and they like you for you.
In addition to her acceptance to Yale, Hannah was recently awarded with the KDKA Extra Effort Award due to her outstanding academic and athletic achievements. Congratulations Hannah, and best of luck in your future endeavors!