JACKSON TWP — “Top three at WPIALs and place at states.”
Lauren Chappell's response is quick when asked of her goals this season in both the 100-meter hurdles and long jump.
Now healthy, the Seneca Valley senior is taking aim at achieving them.
Last year, Chappell showed her potential, setting the school record in the hurdles and reaching the state championship meet in the long jump by going 17 feet, 10 inches at WPIALs.
But a nagging injury kept her from performing up to her standard at the PIAA event. She placed 12th with a distance of 16-11½ at Shippensburg University last May.
“I had an issue with my hip and it impeded my progress,” said Chappell, who also competes in the 300 hurdles and high jump for the Raiders. “I just didn't have much left by the end of the season.”
But Chappell went through several sessions of sports performance training and has not felt pain since last summer. Her attempt to make this spring one to remember received a boost over the winter when she set school records in the 60 hurdles (9.09) and long jump (17-2¼) during the indoor season.
The momentum filtered into the outdoor meets. Four times this season she has bettered her own school standard in the 100 hurdles, which currently stands at 14.93 seconds, achieved in the WPIAL Class AAA team semifinals last week. She won the event in a photo finish Friday at the Pine-Richland Invitational.
Chappell is also on the verge of adding her name to the school record book in the outdoor long jump, currently just 2½ inches shy of Lynette McBride's mark of 18 feet, ½ inch from 1986.
Chappell played a key part in the Raiders tying North Allegheny and Butler for the Section 3-AAA title this spring.
“It started in the indoor season for Lauren and it has carried over,” said Seneca Valley assistant coach Gar Bercury. “She's healthy now and she is making it pay off.”
The winter served as a good primer for Chappell, specifically in the hurdles.
“The 60 teaches you how to get through those first five hurdles at a good pace,” she said. “So far this season, knock on wood, I've been able to stay healthy.”
Chappell plans to continue her athletic career in college. Several schools, including Seton Hill, Kent State and Eastern University, near Philadelphia, are interested.
“The college coaches think I'm better in the long jump, but I think I have more talent in the 100 hurdles,” Chappell said. “I plan to do both in college. I'm going to be doing the heptathlon and both are included in that.”