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Lake Central's Natalie Kransky returns after mono-shortened season
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Girls cross country

Lake Central's Natalie Kransky returns after mono-shortened season

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Lake Central sophomore Natalie Kransky

Lake Central sophomore Natalie Kransky missed all of her freshman postseason battling mononucleosis.

ST. JOHN — Natalie Kransky is back to where she wants to be.

The Lake Central sophomore turned a corner earlier this season after missing the bulk of her freshman campaign with mononucleosis. Running in the Indians' home meet, the Rudy Skorupa Invitational on Aug. 29, she was approaching a hill discouragingly nicknamed “the beast.”

That’s when LC senior Abby Zachary pushed Kranksy to make a move.

“Without her, I probably would’ve had a really bad time,” Kransky said. “(Zachary) said that I could do it, that I could push it. She said ‘10 hard steps.’ And I did every one of those things and I realized I could do it.”

Kransky finished third, nearly catching Chesterton junior Catherine White, who finished second. It’s right where Lake Central coach Morgan Kleinaman believes her top runner should be.

“The second half (of the race), there were a few girls in front of her and we were like ‘You have to get them before you come back around.’ She listens and makes those moves when she needs to,” Kleinaman said. “She’s a good racer without us even without us telling her what she needs to do.”

That finish was a mile marker for Kransky. She believes she was running with the infection last year for three meets before she was diagnosed.

“I started figuring out that I was really sick running at (the) New Prairie (Invitational). I felt like I was going to pass out the whole time. I felt like I couldn’t keep going,” Kransky said. “It was just horrible.”

Kransky never competed again after that Sept. 20, 2019, meet. She didn’t feel herself until a few weeks after the state meet

“We knew she would be a front-runner for us this season, so I wanted her around to experience that postseason and see what it’s like to be at semistate and state,” Kleinaman said. “She missed a huge chunk of our season. Mono took her down hard.”

She continued to practice sometimes when she was no longer contagious, just in case. But her freshman season was over.

She thinks missing the time hurt her development. The COVID-19 shortened track season wasn’t enough to overcome that.

“I think about it all the time. I think about how it was about (this point in the season) that I found out I got mono,” she said. “I came back from it, though, so it’s good.”

The aim for this year is to break 19 minutes. Kransky posted a 19:40.2 at the Lafayette Harrison Invite on Sept. 5, her best time of the year.

Kransky’s other goal is to be among the top 40 names at the state meet.

“I’m pretty proud of myself but I want to improve even more,” she said. “I really want our team to go to state so I’m going to work as hard as I can to get us on the charts and lets us stay there.”

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