Strong showing has Shaler sprinter eager to compete again, make states

Sunday, January 24, 2021 | 8:01 AM

Eloise Facher lined up at the starting line, peering down at a black shirt and shorts before the start of her 60-meter sprint at Youngstown State University.

Competing as an unattached runner meant Facher couldn’t be fitted in her typical blue-and-red Shaler Area track attire.

“It was definitely weird,” Facher said. “I’m used to running for Shaler and seeing Shaler on my shirt. I felt like I was running for a team, but I was running for myself this time. It was weird.”

Facher, who missed out on competing in the indoor state track meet last season due to a pulled hamstring, didn’t allow the surreal situation to dampen her mood. She followed her stretching routines, then ripped off a new personal best of 7.95 seconds.

“To get myself ready, I had a good music playlist to get myself hyped and ready to run,” Facher said. “I just thought about what coach (Shawn) Ryan would tell me to do to get ready. So I did this drill and that drill to make sure I didn’t get hurt.”

With the coronavirus restrictions, Ryan said the school made the decision to not attend any competitions until February. But when the travel restrictions eased and people were allowed to travel out of state for less than 24 hours without quarantining, it opened an opportunity for interested athletes to compete on their own.

Facher and Jack Keenan, who competed in the hurdles, made the trip to Ohio to get some work in. Ryan said he was able to at least watch the meet.

While there haven’t been many competitions as of yet — only 20 runners in Facher’s event are in the Pennsylvania rankings — her performance put her near the top.

“It was nice. We were able to watch the meet online,” Ryan said. “It’s hard to look at the state rankings right now because of everything that’s going on, but her time would be the second-best in the state right now.”

Facher, who would have missed last season even if it wasn’t canceled due to her injury, started working back into track shape in August. She was eager to earn another trip to the indoor state meet.

What happened in Youngstown validated her work.

“Honestly, I expected to do well,” Facher said. “Over the summer and fall, I’ve been working so hard, training every day. I want to make it to states and run at states so bad. I’ve been working my hardest to get there.”

Fellow sprinter Mariah Charity, who competed at states last year, helps push Facher in the weight room.

Whatever uniform Facher has to wear, she wants this performance to be the foundation for her season.

“I want to build off this energy and continue to do better and better at every meet,” Facher said. “I want to keep the momentum going.”


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