BHS Grad Hannah Chappell-Dick Sets Her Sights On 2020 Olympic Trials

by Paula McKibben   Hannah Chappell-Dick, 2012 graduate of Bluffton High School and 2016 graduate of Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), has a goal – a big goal: “I am gunning to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Trials in the 1500 meter.”
   She graduated from Bluffton High School as one of nine valedictorians and made waves on the track with a second place finish in the state in the 800 her senior year, also setting a regional record at Tiffin. But, she says, the first time that she qualified for state in the 4x4 her freshman year “was a pivotal moment in my track career — that’s when I started training year round, rather than just during the season.”
   She selected Eastern Mennonite University, graduating with a degree in biology.  Here, she held the records in the indoor 800 (2016), mile, distance medley relay and the 3000, as well as the outdoor 400, 800, 1500, and 1600 relay in 2015. She achieved runner up in the mile in the NCAA D3 Nationals twice, and regrets not winning the national title. Additionally, she was All-American four times in track and once in cross country, received the President’s Award and was twice Athlete of the Year at EMU.
   She refers to her honor as finalist for NCAA Woman of the Year as a fun experience, meeting 30 other women who excelled in athletics, academics and community service and working together to perform service work in Indianapolis.
   After EMU, Hannah chose to do voluntary service with DOOR in Atlanta in Back on My Feet Atlanta as the program coordinator.  According to its website, “Back on My Feet recruits members (individuals experiencing homelessness) at homeless and residential facilities around the country and begins with a commitment to run three days a week in the early morning.  After 30 days in the program, members with 90 percent attendance earn the opportunity to move into the second phase of the program called Next Steps, which provides educational support, job training programs, employment partnership referrals and housing resources.” To sum this up, they help to build confidence and goals for the homeless, so that they can again hold jobs and have a place to live.Since her service was in Atlanta, she joined the Atlanta Track Club to continue her training: “They keep me accountable, and they make it fun. It is way harder than I ever expected, and I’m still adjusting to the higher level of commitment. But this experience has been an absolute dream, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”In January 2017, she had her first post-collegiate “win” in the second heat of a race at Vanderbilt. Though not an actual win in the final race, she had her first personal record since 2015, breaking 10 minutes on her 3K. Her hope is to qualify for the national travel squad in 2018.
   She continues with track as an adult because “Truthfully, I have absolutely loved the reduction of pressure to win. I feel free to passionately pursue self-improvement.”

See the full story in the Bluffton News