Along with dealing with all the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, 2022 Glastonbury High School graduate Annika Hurley also had to battle a series of running-related injury setbacks during her high school.
A healthy Hurley gets a second wind and will compete for four more years at the State University of New York (SUNY) Geneseo in New York.
“Running has been my favorite thing, it’s helped with stress relief,” said Hurley, who has spent the last few years overcoming injuries and adversity. “It has pushed me even more to know that my college career will be better.”
Hurley originally had her mind set on another school before budget cuts and things out of her control ended that opportunity. She was forced to scramble to find a school and, with the help of assistant/distance coach Brain Gaudreau, was able to commit to the Knights in New York.
Gaudreau said that although injuries hindered Hurley in high school, her dedication for the sport was never in doubt and that she led by example whether she was healthy or not.
“She is a kid that coach [Brian] Collins and I agreed that if there was a kid that was more passionate about running than us it would be her,” said Gaudreau. “Everyone on the team understands how much she loves the sport. She is truly dedicated to it and it means everything to her.”
Hurley said it took her a while to get over the initial disappointment of the college search, but she quickly discovered that Geneseo was the right fit.
“It felt like an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up,” recalled Hurley. “It’s definitely an amazing opportunity with an amazing program.”
Hurley first started running at an early age — following in the footsteps of her mother Christine, who was a marathon runner — and was primed to make a big splash in high school before multiple injuries, including three stress fractures in her foot, limited her ability to train and compete.
She said the injuries, particularly the time-consuming rehab from the stress fractures, took a toll on her mentally.
“It has made me a very grateful runner,” added Hurley, who is in a training program this summer. “It makes me more thankful for the sport. I have always been a really hard worker and in the times I’ve been healthy I definitely tried to take advantage of that.”
When she was at full strength, she was a consistent contributor during the cross country seasons in the fall and on the track in the winter and spring seasons.
Over the last two years, she was part of a half dozen state championship teams at GHS. She won a Class LL title with the cross country team in fall of 2021, a pair of class championships and a State Open victory with the indoor track and field teams in the winter, and back-to-back Class LL titles in outdoor track and field in the spring.
Hurley was also a standout in the classroom, along with being part of National Honor Society and Foreign Language Honor Society.
Despite rehabbing injuries for a good portion of her high school career, Hurley has remained focused that her next destination will allow her to flourish and remain healthy.
Hurley, who loves hiking and the outdoors, will study sustainability at SUNY and join a running program led by cross country head coach and distance specialist Dan Moore.
Moore is an alumni of the college and in his eight years as head coach he has continued a standard of excellence as both the men’s and women's program are staples in the NCAA tournament each season.
Hurley said she that program appealed to her on several front and looks forward to four productive and more importantly healthy years at SUNY.
“They have a great reputation and an amazing running program,” added Hurley. “I’m excited to be surrounded by people that have the same mindset as me.”
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin