From cross-country to track and field


Junior Sadie Gastelum trains for the upcoming track and field season. Photo credit: The Orion

For two Chico State athletes, competing year round comes with both challenges and excitement.

Junior runners McCall Habermehl and Sadie Gastelum had two great cross-country seasons this past fall and will compete for the track and field team this spring. Habermehl placed 3rd at the CCAA Championships and Gastelum placed 12th in the nation at the NCAA Championships. Both were able to stand with their teammates on the podium at the NCAA Championships.

After the season ended they began training for track and field. Competing year-round is not typical for most athletes; however as distance runners, both Habermehl and Gastelum knew that they would be competing in both fall and spring semesters when they entered Chico State as freshman athletes.

“It is kind of expected that when you run cross-country, you will run the long distance for the track team,” said Gastelum. “But for me it isn’t hard when you love the sport so much.”

At the beginning of each semester, the girls write their goals down in order to keep the bigger picture in mind. They also remember their favorite quotes and look to their family as inspiration to keep working hard.

“Our coach sits down with us one-on-one to help us realize and form our goals for the semester and will try to help us reach them,” Habermehl said. “I also write them on my whiteboard at home so that I remind myself every day of what I am working towards.”

Junior runner McCall Habermehl celebrates her CCAA award from cross-country season. Photo credit: Allisun Coote


Competing year-round comes with some challenges. Habermehl said the hardest part is working along with professors who are not required to excuse them from class. Sometimes missing a test or a quiz she cannot make up can tough.

Gastelum said the biggest challenge is hard to pick because she loves competing so much that everything else falls around it and it all works out. If she had to pick one, it would be giving herself enough time between competing and recovery, not only on a physical level but also mentally.

Both girls said their social lives have become very integrated with the team and even though they do not have a lot of free time between practice, competitions and classwork, it is worth it.

“The woman’s team has a really strong cohesive bond and they push each other no matter what,” said Habermehl. “There is no drama and that is really nice.”

As juniors this season both girls are veterans on the team and the incoming freshman athletes will be looking up to them. Habermehl and Gastelum had a little piece of advice that they wanted to pass on and wish they had been told when they entered the world of year-round athletics.

“Don’t be afraid to get outside your comfort zone and push past the pain,” said Habermehl. “I wish I had not been so conservative when I started off.”

“Be patient when you get here,” said Habermehl, “you will succeed but it won’t happen in one season.”

Esther Briggs can be reached at [email protected] or @estherbriggs191 on Twitter.