Soccer player starts track, helps set record

Her stride is a fluid motion, which looks equally fitting weaving among other runners on the track or cutting up the turf with a ball. Lizzy Danhakl’s ’07 repetitive steps cannot be penned into one sport, carrying her from the winter’s soccer field to the spring’s track and a strong senior debut for a middle distance runner in her first year on the team.

Danhakl has played on the girls’ soccer team for all four years in high school but, after the season ended in February, realized her high school career was finished. Searching for another place to fuel her competitive urge, she came to the track team, becoming another one of the school’s “crossover” athletes.

But few are as successful at picking up their new sport as Danhakl has been. Running in such events as the 400 and 800 meters as well as the mile, and several relays, she immediately became the team’s number one miler, and has been named one of runners of the meet five times this year as well as setting a school record in the 3200 meter relay.

“In soccer you’ve got to run at the point where you’re almost physically dead, where it seems you can’t go on,” she said. “It’s the same in track.”

In addition to the physical qualities she has picked up from soccer, many intangibles have followed Danhakl to the track, such as the same competitive streak that drove her to pick up track in the first place.

Though Danhakl joined the team with a lot of raw talent, and is one of the best on the tack team in terms of raw athletic ability, she still had a lot to learn.

Still, though, Danhakl has become one of the team’s strongest runners. Her best times for the girls’ 400 and 800 meter races this year rank second only to Laura Meadors ’08, and she leads the team in her other events.

“We have such a great middle distance history, especially in the last five years,” Koolsbergen said. “At a lot of schools she’d be holding more records in something.”