As a freshman and sophomore, Greenwood’s Hanna Anderson qualified for the state meet in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and she looked to be a force in the future.

Before her junior season, she elected to step out of her comfort zone and focus on the 400 — and the change paid off.

After placing 17th in the state in her new event last spring, Anderson has made it to the finals in four different events over three years.

Going back to the 100 and 200 would have been the path of most resistance for Anderson. Her sophomore year, six of the top nine state finishers at state in the 100 were underclassmen. Five of the fastest finishers in the 200 were also underclassmen, with three making it to the awards podium in both races.

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“Starting off my freshman year, I was just looking for a way to make it to state. I wasn’t mature enough to run the 400 yet,” Anderson said. “It is a very hard race mentally. The thing I like most about it is it doesn’t require all top speed like the 100.

“Probably the first 200 meters is what separates me from the rest of the pack.”

Anderson trusts her conditioning. She doesn’t worry about becoming fatigued along the backstretch of the one-lap race and feels she’ll have plenty left to hold off pursuers with the finish line in sight.

“The main difference is really just the volume that goes into a workout,” Anderson said. “A short sprinter might have shorter reps, while the long sprinters have to do longer reps.

“Other than that, the workouts are essentially the same because 400 runners still need to have short-sprint speed in addition to the endurance.”

First-year Greenwood sprints coach Melissa Rios is still getting to know Anderson, as well as the other Woodmen girls and boys sprinters.

Rios, a 2013 Whiteland graduate who holds that school’s records in the 100, 200 and 400, knows there is an adjustment when having to complete a lap as opposed to a fraction of one.

“It’s knowing to be patient, because the 400 is not an easy race to practice or to run for anyone,” Rios said. “Right now we’re trying to work on her speed and then work on her endurance.”

Greenwood competes in its first indoor meet  Friday at the University of Indianapolis. The Woodmen open their outdoor season at New Palestine on April 3.

Anderson’s abilities in the 400 garnered enough notice to be recognized by Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. A 4.28 student who ranks in the top 15 of her class academically, Anderson will run the 400 for the Bison beginning the 2018-19 school year.

“That just comes with growing up and finding your versatility,” Woodmen coach Blaine Williams said. “We asked her last year to move up to the 400, but it was as much her wanting to move up as it was our wanting her to move up.”

Getting faster

Greenwood sprinter Hanna Anderson’s individual results from her first three trips to the state meet:





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Mike Beas is a sports writer for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at