LUCASVILLE — Valley High School senior Abbi McKinney stated simply that running helped her adjust to a school change during her junior year.
McKinney attended Minford from her freshman year through the midway point of her junior year, but competed in her senior cross country season as an Indian last fall.
“It was different because I wasn’t really used to the change,” she said. “But cross country really helped me bridge that gap and I grew to love the school through running.”
With the change also came new opportunities.
As her senior year comes to a close, McKinney made it official she would be signing to continue her education and join the women’s cross country team at Shawnee State University.
“My family and I are really excited. We’ve never been big into college sports or had someone compete collegiately,” McKinney said. “I love running and I’m looking forward to being able to compete at SSU.”
The Valley senior placed 15th at the 2020 Southern Ohio Conference girls cross country meet and 60th in the Division III Southeast District meet held at Southeastern.
McKinney is no stranger to SSU, as she is currently enrolled in college courses there in addition to her courseload in Lucasville.
The familiarity and a spot on the team offered by first-year head coach Ann Marie Allen made Shawnee State the most logical choice, McKinney said.
“It really made sense to keep going there for my college career. I reached out to Coach Allen and we were able to make to make it happen,” she said.
Upon enrolling at SSU, McKinney said she plans to major in seventh thru 12th Grade Math Education courses, as she prepares to become a high school mathematics teacher following graduation.
Joined by her parents Rob and Becky McKinney, and high school cross country coach Ryan Conley, McKinney said she was thankful for her family and friends’ support — as she begins the next stage of her running career.
“It means a lot. This is a big part of my life and it means a lot that they’re here,” she said.
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved