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We had the privilege of meeting an inspirational young Sandite, Hanna Nelson, after her very first race. This race was a huge moment for Hanna, her family, coaches, and friends because of the tenacity and extra hard work that went into getting her there. Hanna has a condition known as cerebral palsy. Individuals with this condition may suffer from difficulty walking and bodily movements, muscle rigidity, stiff muscles, involuntary movements, muscle weakness, muscle spasms, or paralysis of one side of the body.

Hanna Nelson, for three years, has trained with Coach Chris Corbin and the cross country team. With each advancement requiring grueling dedication and effort Hanna consistently has progressed, she shared, “Sometimes the extra training… I don’t want to do it, but I try to tell myself that this is better for me and will benefit me in the long run.” What a great head on this Sandite’s shoulders. Her patience paid off too.

In September, Hanna Nelson ran her first race. She finished the race and did not come in last! “I didn’t care about my placing in the race; I just wanted to finish. And I did”, says Hanna.

There is no doubt though that Hanna has caught the running bug. Her next goal is to cut her time by THREE MINUTES and run a 10 minute mile. What an inspiration. Hanna is also in the CPHS band and works just as hard in that program.

When we asked Hanna what would she say if she could give advice to others that might be battling physical obstacles she said, “I don’t consider myself an inspriation. I’d say just be nice to everyone, work hard at whatever you’re doing and always try harder.”

“I hope people are inspired! Hanna has overcome so much to get to where she is, where most of us do not have to work as hard to get. Her story makes you want to work hard and appreciate your own abilities”, said Coach Chris Corbin,”Her big day was a big day for all of us.”

After hearing and observing the cross country team lead by Coaches Chris Corbin and Mike Burdge we can not help but share how proud we are of this team. They motivate each other and truly care. “This is why I love this sport. Everyone is growing. Everyone can do it. And our team is so encouraging everyone fits in…”, says Coach Corbin.

Good job Hanna! Good job Sandites!