Hammond named top female athlete

November 25, 2015

Contessa Hammond

Contessa Hammond

By Ben Murphy
Sports Writer

Some people may see running as punishment. Farwell senior Contessa Hammond isn’t one of those people.

“I love running,” Hammond, the 2015 Clare County Review Fall Girls’ Athlete of the Year said. “My love for the sport has a lot to do with my team, myself being the only female runner on the team this year unfortunately, I practiced a lot with the boys and we are all very close… There are days that I don’t feel like running and one of them will text me and say we’re running at 7 a.m. So I get, up and go, end up having a great run and then my whole day feels great.”

She may have a love for running, but winning some awards don’t hurt either. She was Jack Pine Conference MVP in 2014, was named to first team all-conference three times, second team once, was first team all-regional once, second team twice and is a three time state qualifier. Oh, and she holds the school’s 5-K race record time of 20:17.

“It has been a treat coaching Contessa this year,” Farwell cross country coach Michael Jenkins said. “It is very clear that she has been the backbone of the girls team all four years of high school. She is a very determined runner and has shown a lot of leadership. I believe that being the only girl runner this year has helped her. She has never complained about her situation and has made the best of it and ran with the guys daily.”

While often asked how being the only girl effected her, for Hammond,  it was largely a non-issue.
“I’m always asked that question, the biggest downfall was I had no competition which I feel personally held me back,” she said. “I feel I always put in 100-percent effort out when I’m on the course, but I do wonder from time to time if I had competition at practice every day maybe my end result would have been different. I didn’t mind overall, several times at meets other coaches as well as other athletes have told me I’m more than welcome to warm up with them. That alone makes me wish every athlete would try cross country at least once in school. The support from other athletes is totally different. You don’t see quarterbacks from other teams practicing their plays together before a game.”

Hammond’s high school cross country career came to a close on Nov. 7, where she ran to a 72nd place finish in a time of 20:27 in the division three state finals at Brooklyn’s Michigan International Speedway.
“It was awesome and sad at the same time,” Hammond said of running in the meet. “It was an honor to be there three years in a row. It was said at the same time knowing I won’t be back next year representing Farwell. Although I am very much so looking forward to collegiate running.”

Her senior season also consisted of an issue that those who don’t run much might not realize is such a big deal; her shoes.

“The first three quarters of the season it seemed like I hit one obstacle after another,” Hammond said. “I struggled with my shoes, which was a major issue. I went through three pairs before I got my fit right. At one of my meets my toes were literally bleeding at the end of my run. My heels were blistered the entire season, which I’ve never really experienced before.”

Hammond, who also plans to run track this spring, is eyeing opportunities to run in college as well.
“I have a few colleges in mind and am very excited to move up to that level,” she said. “I feel my tiem and dedication to running played a major role (to her success so far). However, without support from my family, friends, teammates, coaches current and past, as well as other athletes from opposing schools along with their coaches was a huge part as far as my motivation.”

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