Month: March 2020

Shannon Osika Awarded Second Memorial USATF Foundation Grant

Middle distance runner Shannon Osika was recently awarded a second USATF Foundation Grant in memory of Frederick W. Lambert.  The original grant was made possible last year through the generous donation of Heidi Keefe, a dedicated friend and donor to the Foundation, and a friend of Foundation Director Mark Lambert.  Following Shannon’s amazing success and(…)

Hanna Green

In one of the deepest time periods in U.S middle-distance running ever, Hanna Green is the next new 800m star. After a breakout year in 2019, Hanna is looking to prove that she can consistently post strong results. Coming into 2019 with a respectable PR of 2:00.09 from the 2018 US Outdoor Championships, she took over a second off her time with a time of 1:58.75 at the Prefontaine Classic. Hanna wasn’t done after this, improving her time to 1:58.19 while taking 2nd at the 2019 US Outdoor Championships. Perhaps her greatest accomplishment of 2019 was winning the Diamond League meet in Paris in 1:58.39, beating some of track and field’s greatest 800m runners.

Like many other distance runners, Hanna started out playing soccer. In eighth grade however, she quit the team because she didn’t like her coach and she decided to go out for cross country. After running her first race in training shoes, her parents told her they wouldn’t get her spikes until she won her first race. In the next race, she dominated the field for first place. Hanna ran throughout high school and then was recruited for Virginia Tech. She realized she had an opportunity to turn professional her junior year of college, and after a successful senior year that goal came into existence as she signed with OTC Elite.

The change of scenery from college athletics proved to be tough initially for Hanna. “My first-year transitioning to OTC Elite was difficult, but after I got comfortable with the training and changes in atmosphere, I was really able to make big improvements to my running,” stated Hanna. Being able to train with some of the best athletes the US has to offer also played a big role in her development. Green cited teammate Francine Niyonsaba as one of her biggest supporters and inspirations in the sport. “Being able to train with Francine has been amazing. Her honesty and work athlete have taught me a lot about the athlete I want to be,” explained Green.  Green also cited the role her parents played in her development. They never pushed her to run and made sure not to put any pressure on her from a young age.

As Green looks to 2020, an Olympic year, like many others has her eyes on a medal in Tokyo. Along with this, she stated that she’d like to improve her 800m time, and work on racing some miles during the early indoor season. Green noted that none of this would be possible without the support she has received from the USATF Foundation which has impacted her career in so many ways. She has been able to improve her nutrition and recovery, something that is so vital to professional athletes. She is also able to get access to better flights, which improves wear and tear on an athlete and helps reduce stress when traveling to meets around the country.

Craig Engels

Craig Engels is an American middle-distance runner who primarily competes in the 1500m run. Boasting a PR of 3:34.04 in the 1500m and a recent appearance in the finals in the IAAF World Championships in the same event, Engels has cemented himself as one of the premiere runners in the country.

An athlete of this stature would normally have been expected to be in track and field for nearly their whole life, but Engels had another path. After getting kicked off his high school soccer team, he joined track and field and began a very close relationship with his high school coach, Christ Catton, someone who Engels credited with in helping progress his career. After high school, Engels spent four years at the University of Ole Miss, which included a national championship in the Distance Medley Relay and along with two other podium finishes. It wasn’t until after these accomplishments that Engels realized he had an opportunity to take his talents to the professional level. Engels signed with Nike and has been working closely with his Coach Pete Julian, his biggest inspiration inside the sport, since the summer of 2017. As expected, Engels has big goals for 2020. He stated that one by one he wants to make the U.S Olympic team, something that he has done in the past; after that qualify for the finals; and then finally reach the podium in a world class race. In order to do this, he will first need to compete against his fellow countrymen in the U.S Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.

For Engels, running is so much more than posting fast times. He stated that what a lot of people get wrong is chasing fast times instead of focusing on getting hardware. He also has a great deal of love for the sport and really wanted to be a major part of future growth. As a multiple time USATF Foundation grant winner, Engels credits the Foundation with assisting him in paying for his graduate school. He wants to use his education to help build up the sport in the future.