CRANBERRY TWP — Lauren Chappell is always running.
But late is better than never.
After a long process, the recent Seneca Valley High School graduate signed to compete for the Robert Morris University track and field team next season.
Other schools like Kent State University, Seton Hill University and Eastern University near Philadelphia were in the mix.
But she finally got the offer she was looking for in late May when Robert Morris came calling.
She finally signed the paperwork recently, capping a season of highs for Chappell and the Raiders.
“It's a Division I school,” Chappell said. “They gave me some money and I wanted to get a good education.”
Robert Morris checked all of those boxes.
Now Chappell can relax and focus on a summer that will again be filled with track and field.
But first came a little break from the grind.
“I was told to rest enough,” Chappell said. “The season went on and on and on and it took a toll on my body.”
She has plans to join the Nadia Track and Field Club in Pittsburgh this summer, competing in the 100 and 300 hurdles as well as in the long and triple jumps.
But she will add the heptathlon to her long list of events.
It will be in preparation for when she arrives at Robert Morris, where she will also do the heptathlon in addition to the hurdles and jumps.
“I'm still training,” Chappell said. “I'm still lifting. I'm still getting my body stronger.”
Chappell had a strong final season with Seneca Valley.
She made breaking the school record in the 100 hurdles a matter of habit, establishing the final mark at 14.90 seconds.
It was a .38-second drop from her best time as a junior — a significant number.
“I wish it would have been lower,” Chappell lamented. “There's always room for improvement, but it was a good start.”
She also has the indoor school record in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 9.09 seconds.
Chappell helped the Raiders get into the WPIAL Class AAA team playoffs in an emotional win over Butler April 23 that gave them a share of the section title with the Golden Tornado and North Allegheny.
Head track and field coach Ray Peaco returned for that meet after taking some time off after the death of his wife, Marcie.
Chappell found her name on the final Butler Eagle Girls Track and Field Honor Roll in four individual events (the 100 and 300 hurdles, the long jump and the high jump).
She is the first Butler County female athlete to accomplish that feat since Slippery Rock's Melissa Sopher did it in 2002 (in the 100 and 300 hurdles and the 100- and 200-meter dashes).
Chappell's time of 14.90 in the 100 hurdles also ranks her second all-time in the county behind Knoch's Regina Robb, who ran a 14.87 in 2008.
“It means a lot to be good in my community,” Chappell said. “I'm always looking at who is better than me and trying to catch them.”