Megan Schellhase’s initial interest in cross country had little to do with the actual sport. As a soccer goalkeeper, she figured the running would help with her conditioning, so she joined some friends in signing up for her middle school’s cross country team. Now a senior at Orange Lutheran, she has found a special connection with the sport and has been running ever since.
“It’s hard,” Schellhase of cross country, “but the team is so much fun. We’re all so close. They make it worth it.”
Schellhase is working to achieve personal best times to close out her high school running career, and on the team side of things, the four-year varsity runner is part of a talented girls group that has their eyes set on the CIF California State Meet.
As a captain for the Lancers, Schellhase uses open lines of communication with all of her teammates as a way of bringing unity to a diverse group. Her years of soccer experience provide a wealth of knowledge in the areas of teamwork and connection.
“Megan exhibits the characteristics of a leader, not just in our sport, but in life,” says OLu cross country head coach, Kristen Goossens. “I knew on our first day of practice that she would be a captain on our team. Her maturity, work ethic and dedication to cross country have been a huge key to the girls’ success over the past four seasons.”
Coming from a public school background, Schellhase says the attention and dedication of the teachers at Orange Lutheran will be what she misses the most when she graduates. Her time as an Ignite leader has allowed her to pass along some of the guidance she received when she first arrived at OLu.
“With Ignite, I work with freshmen, and they don’t always know what to expect,” says Schellhase. “It can be a scary time, and I like being a part of making that easier for them. My Ignite mentor did a lot for me, so it’s nice to be that figure for someone else.”
Schellhase hopes to play soccer in college, and she cites her cross country teammates, namely junior Sophia Gutierrez and sophomore Lolo Landrith, as role models who show her daily what it means to find joy in working hard towards a common goal. The 17-year old has also seen how faith can become an integral part of the OLu student athlete experience.
“Sometimes being a student athlete can feel like too much,” says Schellhase. “But there’s a point to all of that. Faith helps get you through those tough weeks and gives you hope that it’s all going to work out.”