Hampton’s Fischer looks forward to promising senior season
Thursday, June 28, 2018 | 11:39 PM
Valerie Fischer and her track coaches were concerned about her workload at the beginning of the season.
One of the top 400-meter sprinters in the WPIAL since her freshman year, Fisher opted to join the 3,200 relay team in addition to her duties as one of the top runners in the 1,600 relay.
As it turns out, there's not much of a workload Fischer can't handle.
“It took a lot of thought and consideration,” Fischer said. “We talked a lot of times about if it would impact me. I really wanted to support the team. I love the girls I run with and just want to help them any way I can.”
Fischer's durability paid off in a big way. The Hampton relay teams responded in impressive fashion at the WPIAL championships, taking second in the 3,200 in 9 minutes, 28.15 seconds, and seventh in the 1,600 in 4:03.07. The former qualified the team for the state championships in Shippensburg.
Likewise at WPIALs, she finished fourth in the 400 after taking fifth in 2016 — one spot out of becoming a three-time state qualifier. However, Fischer is more interested in discussing her team's accomplishments.
“We were all surprised with the relays,” Fischer said. “I was excited because I had never run the (3,200) before. We didn't know how we would do. The first invitational at Butler, before the race we were very nervous. We just didn't want to get last.”
The 3,200 team finished far from last at the Butler Invitational — third, to be exact. Things continued to improve after that. Teammates Riley Obringer, Olivia Bianco and Cambell France are underclassmen. Likewise, the 1,600 team includes rising senior Peyton Wheeler and junior Logan Nicklas.
Fischer credited France, her classmate and frequent runningmate who has also excelled in individual sprints and relays.
“Cambell and I have always run with each other since seventh grade,” she said. “I feel like I push her, and she pushes me. Even if we're having a bad day, we always look to each other to just see how we can make each other better.”
In addition to strong legs, Fischer has a big heart. Older sisters Victoria and Vanessa sowed the seeds of altruism in her at a young age. In her spare time, she volunteers at Allegheny General Hospital and works at Saint Barnabas Nursing Home.
Additionally, while others were celebrating their first week out of school, Fischer was on a weeklong mission trip in West Virginia, helping to build a 60-foot ramp for a man with Alzheimer's.
“I just love helping people,” she said. “Making them feel better helps me feel better. Improving their life helps improve how you feel about yourself.”
Fischer, who also plays soccer, is looking to polish her running skills for her senior year in track and is hoping the 3,200 team can break the school record, which it drew close to by 3 seconds near season's end.
“I love our relay teams. … At the beginning of the season, we were all brand new (for the 3,200). The 1,600, we just really want to make it to states,” Fischer said. “We were so close, and at all the invitationals we did so well. I think we can make it next year.”
Devon Moore is a freelance writer.