Girls Track

Switch to track has worked out well for Wheeler, O'Shea

2012-05-21T21:30:00Z 2013-05-30T17:59:09Z Switch to track has worked out well for Wheeler, O'SheaBy Jim Peters jim,peters@nwi.com, (219) 548-4363 nwitimes.com

Running is still part of Kelly O'Shea's daily routine.

The Wheeler sophomore is just doing it around a track than around bases, making the switch in sports with one specific goal in mind.

"The only reason I'm doing track is I want to go to state," O'Shea said. "I've been so close (in cross country). I still love softball. I'm still going to play in the summer. Track's a lot of fun. I ran all through middle school. It's fun running with my teammates. I could do both (sports), but to go to state, track had to be my first concern."

A two-time semistate qualifier in cross country, O'Shea hopes to take the next step, running the 800 meters in tonight's Chesterton Regional. She will also handle a leg on the Bearcats' 1,600-meter relay.

"She's added a lot to the team," coach Rhonda Anderson said. "Kelly has such a fierce competitive spirit. She's an extremely hard worker. She doesn't complain. If anything, I have to stop her so she doesn't do too much on days off. She's just a joy to work with."

O'Shea began training in November and ran indoor meets, but Anderson wasn't completely convinced she'd have O'Shea for the duration until after softball started.

"I did cartwheels," Anderson said with a laugh. "In my mind, I was kind of waiting to see. The last thing you want to do is put pressure on kids. They have to make up their own minds. Last year, she picked softball. This year, she picked track and it's worked out really well for the team."

With a 100 to 1,600 range, O'Shea's versatility has been invaluable. She was a part of four firsts in the Greater South Shore Conference meet, winning the open 800 and 1,600 to go with the 1,600 and 3,200 relays.

"I was really sore that day," O'Shea said. "I could do about every event. I really like the relays. The 800s my favorite. It's just like a long sprint."

With O'Shea's combination of speed and a distance base, Anderson saw the 800 as a "no brainer" for her.

"I think it's a natural fit," she said. "She's very strong and she's one of the fastest girls on the team as well."

O'Shea ran on all three relays in the sectional, where the 1,600 took second and the 3,200 third. She posted a 2:22/800 split, which would've broken the school record in the open race. The latter relay was scratched for the regional so she and Haley Lovison (400) will be fresher.

"I made it out, which was great, but I wasn't really happy with how I ran," she said. "I'd run the four-by-eight earlier and that took a lot of energy out of me. I'm really excited. I just have to get out in the 800. Our relay's definitely got a chance, too."

Long term, O'Shea isn't sure where her athletic interests will take her. If she keeps running track, she'll likely be joined next spring by her brother Joel, an eighth-grade standout this year.

"I'm taking it season by season," she said. "I'm going to do what I want to do."

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