In the fall of 2017, in Melanie’s freshman year at Roswell High she joined the recreation women’s soccer team, soon catching the eye of running coaches. She set off to join track for the following semester. After she started to make impressive run times her devotion to the sport grew. “I joined that year not really knowing anyone but I connected a lot to my coaches and teammates, I remember they used to have a nickname for me, ‘Swing’, because when I ran my arms would swing”.
The next fall, Melanie started her first cross country season. Learning to adjust to the longer run times was a challenge. “I used to be very mean to myself on runs, I did not have the right mentality going on”. After tons of hard morning practices and late days conditioning she fell back to herself, and had developed a new structure to her runs, “I try to never get in my head during one and just stick to thinking about my plan for the run, think about the time I have left and my goals rather than just using negativity”.
Unfortunately during the fall of her 2nd cross country season, and in her junior year, Melanie was injured with microtears. At the same time she was out with pneumonia for an entire month. This landed her out of competition for that entire season. “It was really challenging to not be running at this time, so much so that I did not take a long enough recovery coming back”. She returned for her season back on the track in spring of 2020 but as things were looking up, COVID-19 ended the season prematurely. “I felt as though this was gonna be my season and then suddenly it was all gone…But those experiences in junior year taught me so much about being an athlete. How to take care of yourself and how to refocus on what you want”.
It turned out that what she had her eye on was an offer to run track in college. “I always knew I would love to run track in college, and I really focused on that as my main goal”. At the beginning of her senior year Melanie started to work closely with coaches on getting noticed and approached by colleges. After multiple considerations she set her heart on running for the Georgia Southern Eagles in fall of 2021. One reason she picked GSU over another offer was its exclusive food sciences program. “I learned through my own experiences that athletes need food guidance, so I want to help athletes make better choices”.
This spring is Melanie’s final track season at Roswell High and before making her way to the college track she expects to crush her current stats this season. “I want to just crush my PRs this season and get the most athletically”. She hopes of running the 4 x 800 at state, and more hopeful that the team gets that opportunity to compete at the state championship.
Beyond her future plans on Eagles team or Hornet team she hopes to fulfill her long term goal of qualifying then running in the Boston Marathon. In her career she wants to specialize in food sciences, helping athletes understand and use food in their performance.