Local runner breaks records, wins honors

Rachel Battershell (center, no. 5) running hurdles at the NAIA Indoor Track Nationals held in Brookings, S.D. She was named athlete of the year for the Great Plains Athletic Conference. Photo courtesy of Matt Beisel



WHEATLAND –Amid the sadness of the canceling of current and future sports for the next few months comes a success story of 2018 Wheatland graduate, Rachel Battershell.
She runs track for Concordia University in Seward, Neb., where she is a sophomore studying exercise science and chemistry. While the spring outdoor track season was canceled, Battershell recently finished the indoor track season with high honors under the direction of head track coach Matt Beisel.
This year she was named the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) and Regional Track Female Athlete of the Year. Her awards are well deserved. At the conference meet held Feb. 22 in Mitchell, S.D., she won all three events she competed in: 60m hurdles (8.81, breaking her school record) 400m dash, and was a member of the 4x400m relay that also won. Concordia’s women's team won the conference team title. Battershell was also awarded the outstanding female performance award for the conference meet.
At the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletes’ Indoor nationals held March 5-7 in Brookings, S.D., she competed in the hurdles, 400m and 4x400m. In the 400m dash, she ran a personal best 54.77, earning the National Title and breaking a 31-year school record, previously held by Carol Bailey (54.98). Additionally, in the 4x400m relay, she ran the anchor leg and her team ran a time of 3:47.39, resetting the school record they set last year and placing second nationally.
Battershell ran track at Wheatland High School, which gave her the notice she needed to be offered a scholarship to run for Concordia. Going from running for high school to college has some adjustments.
“Our track team in Wheatland was small so I didn’t train with a lot of people in high school. Having a group of people to train with every day, I get a lot closer with them. We have a group that has a Bible study every week and we go to praise together," Battershell explained. “Training wise –it's a lot harder. It’s an adjustment, but I’m loving it and it’s working. I’m growing as a runner and getting better times.”
The college has decided that the rest of the semester will all be online so she is home, taking classes online and taking a little time off to recover before starting up training again. She does have advice for runners who want to get to their highest potential. Tips like eating food that is good fuel for the body and keeping a steady workout schedule.
“Stay focused on the small things, those all add up. If you don’t bend in the small things, you’re less likely to bend in the big things,” Battershell advised. “Take the time to do a good warmup and do an intense workout every day whether you’re in recovery or full-out. Focus on recovery and listen to your body and what it’s trying to tell you.”
She is the daughter of Ty Battershell and Lauri Palmer of Wheatland. Someday she hopes to coach or work in athletic performance research. Right now, she is enjoying the college experience and is looking forward to getting back to campus once it is open again. Most of all, Battershell is appreciative of everyone that has helped her get where she is today. "I am so thankful for family, friends, teammates and coaches for support, for God's blessings and provision throughout this season and for such a supportive hometown community and sponsors."

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