Shaving seconds: Sophomore Siobhan Mitchell sets personal best in seven consecutive races

Britney Dixon, Managing Editor

Since the beginning of cross country season, sophomore Siobhan Mitchell has been setting personal records (PRs) every race.

It started with cross country’s 6-kilometer races in the fall and transitioned into track and field season this spring.

According to Mitchell, one of the things she attributes to her success in the fall was her health.

“I was really excited to be able to see hard work pay off. I also felt very lucky that I was able to stay healthy all season,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell’s success on the Gordon College course in September pioneered her streak. She ran a time of 26 minutes 22.2 seconds. Mitchell’s mile pace for the meet was 7 minutes 4.2 seconds and she placed 38 out of 152 runners.

By the end of the season, at the New England Division III Championships, Mitchell’s 6k time was down to 25 minutes 50.48 seconds — 32 seconds faster than when she started the season.

“I was hoping that my progress in the fall would continue into the spring,” Mitchell said.

Though, Mitchell wasn’t running 6k’s anymore.

At the start of this spring season, the distance crew knew they’d be running shorter races than they were expecting. For Mitchell, this meant the 1500-meter run — a race she hadn’t competed in since her freshman year of high school.

“I knew I could be faster, but it was just a matter of how much faster, which made racing it fun,” Mitchell said.

The first meet of the season was at Bridgewater State University where Mitchell put up a time of 5 minutes 14.21 seconds. The following week at University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, Mitchell dropped 9 seconds and placed fourth.

Head Coach Sean Livingston shortened Mitchell’s runs again placing her in the 800-meter run at American International College in Springfield, Mass.

Mitchell’s time granted her a collegiate PR, meaning she ran faster in high school, which according to her meant the streak was over.

“Personally, I felt like the streak ended, which is a little disappointing but I’m excited to race more 800s this season and hopefully begin a new streak,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell is also a high jumper on the team and while she hasn’t PR’d there yet this season, she qualified for the New England Championships already.

Her jumping coach, Christopher Cicchinelli, said that Mitchell is having a great season and handling the pressure of balancing her events well.

“She is working very hard to be the best she can be. It is hard to take a jump then go run an 800 race and then have to jump immediately after finishing that race,” Cicchinelli said.

According to Mitchell, her biggest supporters are her teammates and coaches. They are always looking for everyone to improve.

“[Having a streak] is an extra motivator. Going into a race, my goal is to compete for my team as best as I can, but having a personal stake of keeping the streak alive was also in the back of my mind while racing,” Mitchell said. “Definitely added some extra nerves because I didn’t want the streak to end but it gave each race a new goal I could focus on.”