WHEELERSBURG — Christen Risner has never backed away from a challenge. In fact, heading into her freshman year at the University of Rio Grande, she’s created one for herself.
Over her four-year career at Wheelersburg, Risner played an imperative part for Wheelersburg’s uber-successful girls soccer and softball teams. She’ll now attempt to do the same as a collegiate athlete.
Risner joins a RedStorm team that finished 7-9-2 last fall, but one that is now a year of experience older … two seasons removed from a 3-13-2 record. For quite some time now, Risner has been training to be able to immediately contribute to that upward movement.
“We got our summer workout schedule the second week of May, so I’ve been running and conditioning all summer,” Risner said. “I’m most excited to see how far we’ll go this fall because we’ll have a good team and good coaches.”
A “good team” and “good coaches” have prepared her to play two sports in college, a task that’s far from small.
“At Wheelersburg, we have coaches and teachers that push us on and off the field,” Risner said. “So being able to go to Rio and having the mentality that I can do this is very reassuring to have.”
Looking back at her soccer career at Wheelersburg, Risner scored 82 goals and passed out 59 assists. That helped the Pirates win three straight district titles while posting an overall record of 64-6-7.
On the softball diamond, she was just as good or better. Acting as the team’s leadoff hitter and centerfielder for the better part of her career, ‘Burg was 98-10 with Risner on the roster. That mark, of course, included three district titles, two regional crowns and two trips to the state championship game … one of which they won by a 1-0 final over Canfield South Range in 2016.
Out of all the hits, goals and wins, that state title tops her list of memories at Wheelersburg.
“My favorite memory at Wheelersburg would have to be when we won state in softball,” Risner said. “There was so much hard work and dedication put into that whole year. Being able to go into the tournament, and for all of us to put aside everything to win a championship, is something special and something that will always be special to me.”
Now, as she transitions into college life, Risner will be looking to represent her community with more of the same success.
But before that can come, she’s looking to make herself a home in a new environment.
“I’m probably most excited about making new friends and being able to have a team or teams that welcome the new players like they do and make us feel welcome and like family,” Risner said. “Playing two sports is definitely going to be a challenge but I’ll have to manage my time and realize that I’m there to get a degree. That’s what I’ll be most focused on.”