CLEARWATER — Anything you can do athletically, Hannah Brookover probably can do better.
Only a sophomore, the 5-foot-5 Brookover excelled last year at Calvary Christian in cross country, soccer and track.
In only her second year running, she placed eighth in the Class 1A state cross country meet and sixth in the 1,600 meters at the 1A track meet. She also led her soccer team in assists (22) and was second in goals (14).
Coming into this school year, Brookover faced an inner battle and came to a crossroads in her athletic career.
Would she continue playing soccer, a sport she’s played for 11 years, or focus solely on running?
To Brookover, the decision was easy as she responded in a quick, self-assured manner.
“I’ve realized I don’t want to play soccer,’’ she said. “It’s not really important to me anymore. With my mom (Tricia Brookover, a former Florida cross country star) being the head coach here, and my recent success, (running has) become my main passion.”
Brookover said she is on a mission this year.
“She’s more focused than she’s ever been this year,’’ Tricia Brookover said. “We’ve been training non-stop. Not competing; just working on interval training, cross training in the pool mixed in with speed and endurance exercises.”
Brookover said her sixth-place finish at the state track meet would have been higher if she wasn’t racing on an injured foot. But the unassuming Brookover is the quiet type who leads by example and doesn’t make excuses.
She has a specific formula this year to improve.
“I’m targeting my training on my endurance,’’ Brookover said. “I want to build a lead early on in the race and be the pacesetter. Last year I struggled sometimes because I didn’t make my push until the end and it was too late to win.
“I want to make my push in the middle and have some left in the tank in the end instead of coming from behind where there’s a gap. I want to be the one making the gap.”
Her coach says she’ll do even better than last season.
“She’ll definitely improve this year. She works too hard not to. Not to mention, she’s improved every year,” Tricia Brookover said.
Brookover plans to run in college and pursue running professionally. If that doesn’t pan out, she wants to become a pediatrician.
“I want to win a state championship this year. That’s what I’m thinking about in my workouts and envisioning,” she said.