There aren’t too many types of injuries that Hebron’s Lexie Schatz hasn’t experienced. Throughout her athletic career, the senior cross country runner has had surgery on both of her knees, tendonitis, hip and neck complications, and scoliosis. Despite her medical history, her love of running has kept her competitive in the sport.
“Advil and Aleve are my best friends,” Schatz said. “My biggest strength is probably my mindset. I’ve been through a lot of injuries and I haven’t given up, I keep following through.”
Schatz is among Hebron’s top two runners this season. Last fall, she was an all-conference runner in the Porter County Conference, and also qualified for regional and semi-state.
“At regionals, my sister (Payton Schatz) and I ran together and we pushed each other,” Lexie said. “It was awesome because we both got to experience qualifying individually for semi-state.”
Hebron coach Michael DeFries believes Schatz exhibits characteristics of a smart runner. He also notes that her leadership and patience with younger runners make her like “an extension of the coach” on the running course.
“Lexie knows how to keep good pace,” DeFries said. “It’s hard to teach someone to just go out and pace. She’s a smart runner - she doesn’t go too fast at the beginning and she doesn’t get to the end of a race and have way too much left over. She knows how fast she needs to go, she paces it out and runs a good race every time. Consistency is a good word for her.”
Schatz has been working on assembling binders for each team member that contain running and nutrition tips. Schatz also tries to encourage her teammates and offers pointers to help them improve.
“I try to be a team leader,” Schatz said. “I want to help my teammates become dedicated and determined to run. Some of the younger runners don’t have the self-esteem they need yet - they don’t realize how good they can be so I want to prove to them that they are really good. My girls have a lot of potential, I just need to get that in their minds. And once I can do that, everyone needs to watch out for Hebron cross country.”
Schatz wants to end her senior year “on a good note” and says she isn’t going to hold anything back this season. In coping with her injuries, especially her scoliosis, Schatz plans to continue to eat a healthy diet and avoid unnecessary strain on her body.
“Dealing with my injuries has taught me that other people have it worse. Now I look at some other people, and honestly my (injuries) aren’t that bad. I still can run, just in pain. Some people can’t run at all. Something happens to them and then it’s over, but I can still follow through and push, even though I’m in pain. There are ways to overcome it.”
Though she’s been careful to nurse her injuries, Schatz isn’t looking to slow down her training or put aside her goals any time soon. She has dreams of qualifying for the state meet and is considering running for a college squad.
“I’ve been making sure I run a lot of miles,” Schatz said. “Running a lot of miles is the main thing, if you can run 6 miles hard, then a 3.1 mile race is easy. I think to myself, ‘if I can run 6 miles hard then I can run 3 even harder.’”