North Royalton Freshman Phenom Overcomes Asthma, Youth En Route To Reaching State Meet


North Royalton freshman phenom Hannah Neczypor
Pardon the pun, but there is a 'running' joke in the home of Hannah
Neczypor, one of the OHSAA's rising young track stars from North
Royalton. Asked about the advice her father Bill gave her, you'll get a chuckle from the response. “He says run with your right and left foot,” Neczypor laughed. So far the freshman has run over the competition and clock.

Pardon the pun, but there is a 'running' joke in the home of Hannah Neczypor, one of Ohio's rising young track stars from North Royalton.

Asked about the advice her father Bill gave her, you'll get a chuckle from the freshman.

“He says run with your right and left foot.,” Neczypor said.

Bill will be the first one to tell you that all of Hannah's record breaking talents in running, have come from her mother Jeanie and with good reason. As a high schooler, Jeanie ran for Mt. Vernon high, and still is the record holder in the 3,200 meter relay there which she helped set back in 1980.

“I played soccer, and my coach always said I was the fastest on the team,” said Neczypor. “My mom has always been there to support me and has helped me figure out my goals, so in fifth grade, she found a CYO program for me to run with.”

The rest is history.

“The first race I ran, I ended up getting a win, so that helped build my confidence,” Neczypor said. “In sixth grade, they ran me against the eighth graders, such as current state 1,600 and 800 meter record holder Emily Infeld. She blew me away, but that too, helped with my confidence.”

It didn't hurt either that she won the middle school state cross country titles as a seventh and eighth grader.

But high school athletics is a whole different ballgame. Neczypor would no longer be running against kids her own age in big meets, and in addition to the faster girls, she also had to deal asthma. The illness has affected her in the past.

“It's mostly allergies that makes me get it, but I have an inhaler if I need it,” Neczypor said. “It does get tough at times, but it hasn't affected me this year in track.”

If it affected her during cross-country, she didn't let it show either. All the freshman did for the Bears as a harrier last fall, was win the Edgewater District title with a time of 18:57 besting perennial favorite Madeline Chambers of Magnificat. The following week, she faced another rigorous task, but took home second to Emily Pritt of Massillon Jackson.

Although both Pritt and Chambers would best her at the state meet, it was a learning experience, and she still earned all-Ohio honors with her 15th place finish.

“I really like cross country, and it was more than I expected, but I wasn't upset,” said Neczypor. “I felt my legs were tired, but when you entered that stadium and heard everyone cheering it kept you pushing. I wanted to finish strong.”

That finish was perhaps the beginning of things to come, as thus far in track, Neczypor has been spectacular.

Already she has shattered North Royalton's records in the 1,600, 800 and 3,200 meter runs, not to mention being part of new school relay marks. She also chalked up golds in the 1,600 and 3,200 at the district meet.

“I really didn't expect to get that good quite this soon,” Neczypor said with a laugh. “I've been training hard each week, and my coach has really helped me. I've been running a lot of 400 and 600 meters at practice lately to help with my mile. But competition also helps, and I'm looking forward to seeing Pritt and Walsh's Chelsea Oswald again.”

Just how good has Neczypor been this year?

For starters, in the 3,200 (10:48.66) and 1,600 relay (4:04.93) she set new records at the Berea Relays. The 10:48.66 is currently the third best time in the state of Ohio, behind Infeld and Katie Gillespie of CVCA.

Neczypor clocked a 2:19.70 at the Dover Tornado relays for a new mark in the 800.

During the Ravenna Division I District meet, she ran a 4:59 in the 1,600 meter run, which not only set a new district meet record – breaking the mark that stood since 1995 of 5:07, which was set by Marlington's Missy Graham – but it also ranked her as fourth best in Ohio, just .75 off Worthington Kilborne's Claire Durkin.

The other two in front of her? Two runners who are nationally ranked. Junior Stephanie Morgan of Barnesville, ran a 4:39 at the Penn Relays, a time that bested only Infeld who ran a 4:41 at the same meet.

“I'll see them all again this week,” said Neczypor. “I hope I can get my times down, because it's tough running by yourself; it's hard to be pushed. they will definatly push me.”

Neczypor, who does the dreaded triple (800-1,600-3,200) in various meets throughout the season admits that is not easy feat and says she usually feels it after the 3,200 meter run.

“My legs usually hurt after that race, but it takes a lot out of you,” she said. “I originally set goals for myself in each meet to get better and try to break the record, now I just want to try to improve the times I get.”

If she felt it at all after the regional meet, it was hard to tell, for the excited Neczypor. All she did was clock an 11:04.47 and take home the 3,200 meter title by over six seconds after placing third in the 1,600 meter run.

Two goals heading into the final stretch of the year are to run 4:56 in the 1,600 and hit 10:40 in the 3,200, which if accomplished in that event, could lead her right to the top of the podium at Jesse Owens stadium and rank her in the top 20 nationally.

The great thing about the freshman sensation, is the fact she is very humble in what she has accomplished, saying without the help and support of her teammates and coaches it would be much more difficult.

“They give me a lot of support, and there are a lot of people cheering me on, especially the upperclassmen,” said Neczypor. “They've all given me advice, and I really like my team a lot.”

As for her her freshman finale, the goal is to record another memorable finish.

Said Neczypor: “I don't think I've been pushed to my limit yet.”

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