By Victoria Lee
The Baltimore Sun
3:19 AM EST, January 6, 2013
Packed doesn't begin to describe Hannah Oneda's schedule. While it's common for freshmen to falter and sludge their way through their first semester at college, and take to liberties in exploring their newfound freedom, the Johns Hopkins cross country runner from Winters Mill has hit the ground running — literally and figuratively.
"I wake up around 8 or 9 to do either a 30-minute pool or shakeout run, or yoga with the team. Then, I go to class from 9 to 12, eat lunch and maybe fit in another 30-minute pool run if I didn't do it in the morning. I do work until practice at 4, run, lift, ice-bath, shower and eat and then do homework [until] God only knows what time," Oneda said. "It pretty much doesn't deviate from that, but I like my schedule — it keeps me disciplined."
Her commitment is evident to all those who know her.
"Hannah is one of the fiercest runners on the team and thrives on pushing herself to the limits. Her approach to academics and life is very similar — she wants to get the most out of everything she does, challenging herself in all facets of her life," coach Bobby Van Allen said.
Added Winters Mill boys coach Dan Replogle, "She has lofty goals for herself and puts forth tremendous effort to achieve them."
Oneda's dedication has paid off. She was named the Centennial Conference Runner of the Year and Rookie of the Year after her domination Nov. 1 at Haverford, where her 6K time of 21 minutes, 3 seconds made her the first freshman to win the conference championship individual title. Her Haverford time also made Blue Jays history as the fastest 6K to date. Oneda has been instrumental in ensuring Hopkins' winning season, and her victory at the NCAA Division III regional championships Nov. 10 — she was the fastest among 346 runners in the field — guaranteed the Blue Jays a trip to the D-III nationals championships Saturday in Terre Haute, Ind.
Such commitment doesn't leave Oneda time for much else, and finding a balance between academics and athletics was initially difficult for the freshman.
"It turns out time is very precious here. Classes have been going better than I expected, but thanks to Hopkins, I'll encounter my first B ever. And I know I will continue to get more B's through the years here," Oneda said.
Junior teammate Holly Clarke, who was the runner-up at Haverford in 21:04, has helped Oneda find a balance between her rigorous class schedule and running regimen.
"Hannah and Holly have a very strong working relationship; they both learn different things from each other," Van Allen said. "Holly, being a junior, has the experience she is able to share with Hannah. They are very supportive of one another and so close in workouts and meets that they really push each other well."
Added Oneda, "It's great to have a workout buddy like Holly, especially since I never had anyone to run with in high school except the boys, even though I absolutely loved running with them."
But she's quickly embraced her new team and the aspects that female camaraderie often entail.
"We've all started to write quotes on our arms now. Often it's just the word 'nationals' to remind us in every moment of what we're working for," Oneda said. "It's all very intense-sounding."
If there was ever a time for Oneda to embrace intensity, it's now.
"I always wanted to be part of a team that could do big things, so winning nationals was definitely a big goal of mine in coming to Hopkins," Oneda said. "We have so much potential to win, it would be absurd if we weren't going for it."
Van Allen shares Oneda's quest for victory. "As a team, our goal is to improve upon our highest finish ever, which was seventh. If we all run great, we can run with any team in the country, so naturally, our goal is to make that happen to contend to win," he said.
He added, "Hannah's goal is to run with the top six girls in the country, and if things go right she also could challenge to win."
With times that have displaced many in Hopkins history and a bevy of individual records in her rookie season, it is easy to forget Oneda is a freshman student still navigating through her first semester away from home. Despite her demanding schedule, she has found ways to enjoy her new life even if these instances are few and far between.
"I sneak in fun here and there," Oneda said. "I really like doing things with the team mostly, and I limit going out to going out with them. Because team bonding is the best."
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