As a freshman, Gig Harbor High’s Hannah Carroll was already fast. Actually, really fast.
Like, sixth-in-the-state-in-the-Class 4A-400-meter fast.
That might surprise some people. But probably not those who know the Carroll family. Hannah’s older brother, Logan, was part of the 2013 Gig Harbor High cross country team that won a national title.
Her other brother, Nolan, who is currently a junior at Gig Harbor, is also a distance runner.
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The odds of being a good runner then, were in Carroll’s favor. And in her freshman year, she didn’t disappoint, managing to place at state in the 400.
“That was pretty exciting,” Carroll said. “I felt really lucky to have that experience as a freshman. I wanted to do my best, and having my coaches and my team there to support me was awesome. The girls I competed against were really talented, so it was just really exciting to be able to see where I ranked up against other top athletes.”
Having her brothers in her life has been an inspiration for Carroll.
We can share stories about our experiences. There’s also a little bit of pressure that comes with it. The cross country team won nationals, so I feel a little bit of pressure living up to the family name. But I know I’m my own person and I run my own events.
Hannah Carroll, Gig Harbor sophomore runner
“We can share stories about our experiences,” she said. “There’s also a little bit of pressure that comes with it. The cross country team won nationals, so I feel a little bit of pressure living up to the family name. But I know I’m my own person and I run my own events. I like the experience but sometimes it’s bittersweet. But they’re both great. They both support me.”
But it’s tough to directly compare Carroll to her brothers. In part, because the time standards are different for boys and girls. And also because Carroll didn’t have much interest in competing in the long-distance events.
“They were talking about all their long runs and stuff and I was like, ‘You know, I’m going to try sprints out and see how it goes,’” Carroll said.
Others pointed out that her brothers do long-distance running, so why shouldn’t she?
“I told them, ‘Well, that’s because they’re crazy,’” Carroll said with a laugh. “I don’t want to go on a super long run. I love doing the 400, even the 800. I don’t really consider going much longer.”
Still, while their events may be different, Carroll was able to soak up some running knowledge while watching Logan and his teammates conquer the state — and the nation — during 2013.
“They had to keep their composure to be able to compete, hold themselves to high class, even when people weren’t watching,” Carroll said. “That whole team had to stay very positive, not getting too cocky. They didn’t say, ‘Oh, we know we’re going to win.’ It taught me a lot about staying composed, staying on my race plan. They had a specific race plan they followed. I think that helped them.”
Carroll just wants to keep getting better this season, building on her freshman year. Her personal record in the 400 was 57.40 seconds. She’s hoping she can drop in the 56’s this year.
“And then just taking the experiences as they come, get faster, work hard, do whatever coach (Kevin) Eager tells me to do,” Carroll said. “I kind of know some of the experiences now, know not to get as worked up as I usually do. Just helping the freshmen, have everyone have a good experience.”
From her senior teammates last year, she learned not to take losses too harshly.
“They mentored me so much,” Carroll said. “I learned so much from them. … I really learned what it was like to be a leader and run well. I learned that if you run badly one race, that doesn’t define you. You kind of define yourself as a runner. I learned how to deal with a bit of adversity.”