WHEELERSBURG — While Wheelersburg’s Natalie Brammer — basically — is new to high school running, her upside is that her increased running regimen should start lowering her times.
Already on Brammer’s checklist, though, is her love for distance running — and desire to continue at the collegiate level, which she will do at the University of Rio Grande.
That’s because Brammer, on Monday, made it official — announcing her intention to compete in both cross country and track and field for the NAIA’s RedStorm.
She was flanked at her signing ceremony by her parents Nathan and Katie Brammer; members of the University of Rio Grande track and field and cross country coaching staff including longtime head coach Bob Willey; Wheelersburg cross country head coach Derek Massie; and several family members, friends and Lady Pirates teammates.
Brammer, just two years into the sport now, said she took up running because “Coach (Derek) Massie begged me forever to do it, and finally I tried it and fell in love with it.”
“I’m very excited about this and I feel I am starting to reach my potential,” said Brammer.
Because Brammer is such a late bloomer, she said she didn’t receive significant interest from other schools, but “what really struck me about Rio was the community”.
“Everybody was very welcoming, and I can just see myself there continuing my academic and athletic careers,” she said.
She said it resembles strongly the Wheelersburg community, as in track and field, Brammer will join three former Lady Pirates already at Rio Grande —sprinter and jumper Lauren Jolly, fellow distance runner Alyssa Dingus, and thrower Justus Steward.
Dingus graduated in 2020, while Jolly and Steward graduated last academic year.
“The Burg community is just amazing,” said Brammer. “Everybody is so welcoming and just cheers you on, whether you do good or bad. It has really expanded me into the person and runner I am today.”
While her sample size of significant events is small, her personal-best time in cross country came at the 2020 Southern Ohio Conference meet at Eastern —when she completed that 5K course in 25 minutes and 17 seconds.
In track, she has focused primarily on the 4x800m relay —and individually the one-mile and two-mile runs.
Her best times are 2:54 (800m individual distance) in the 4x800m, a 6:52 in the 1,600m (one mile), and a 15:12 in the 3,200m (two mile).
Brammer said that while she is a runner, Willey will likely have her “jumping around a little bit in track”.
“I’ll do all the distance events at some point, and we’ll figure out which ones I am going to specialize in,” she said. “Not exactly sure yet about which exact events, or even relays.”
She is also undecided upon her major, but again, has plenty of time to decide that.
For Brammer, it’s about potential and increasing experience on the track and cross country courses, as she should fit well with Rio Grande —as her love for running is already in place.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved