Getting by with a little help from her running friend

Lauren Schattinger spent her offseason training at the all-weather track inside Don Richards Stadium.

A couple of years ago, the 2011 Lakeview High School graduate was running and saw somebody else sharing the track.

The two introduced themselves and a friendship was formed.

It was former Lakeview runner Katie Scannell, who just finished up her senior year at Miami of Ohio last month.

“I got to know her my junior year of high school,” Schattinger said. “She had already been running for Miami, which is very funny. She was training on the track and I was going out for a workout. We got to talking.”

Schattinger, now a college sophomore, eventually ended up at Miami and started to run for the RedHawks.

During this past Christmas break, Schattinger kept working out and realized something was amiss. She returned to the Oxford campus and only finished a couple of indoor meets before the rest of her season was put on hold because of a stress fracture in her right foot. Schattinger wore a protective boot and hopes to return to running in the fall.

She was forced to watch the rest of indoor and this year’s outdoor season.

Not running really stressed the Lakeview graduate, but then she remembered Scannell.

Here was a runner that moved from Cortland after her sophomore year for Canada. Scannell, arguably one of the area’s better distance runners at the time of her departure, couldn’t make heads or tails of her new high school – Manatoulin Secondary School in Ontario. Then, she spent her freshman year of college at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.

The track and field programs weren’t as competitive as they were in Cortland.

She needed a change.

Scannell eventually walked on at Miami of Ohio.

“There was a kid that kept asking me if she could try out,” Miami girls track and field coach Kelly Phillips said. “It was my first year here. I was so busy and I didn’t have time to meet with her.

“She kept harassing me, ‘Can we meet? Can we meet?’ I told her if you can hang with these girls, you can stay on the team. She had no business doing it. She hasn’t been doing it for long. She was a distance runner and they were sprinters.”

However, things got worse before they were better for Scannell.

She transformed herself from a distance runner into a 400-meter hurdler.

“I started at Miami as a walk on,” Scannell said. “I just wanted to join the team. Wherever you want me, I’ll do whatever you want me to do. I was off running for three years. It was hard for me to get back to where I was when I was still at Lakeview. They kind of moved me around. I was an 800 girl. Then I moved up to the 1,500. Then, I moved back down to the 800. Then, they were like, ‘What about 400 hurdles?’

“That was my main even for a while. I loved it. I took third in MACs my junior year. It became my favorite race because distance, I thought I was in a rut with it. With the hurdles, it gave me something to focus on.”

Scannell started to excel at hurdles, but that’s when things went sour at the 2012 All-Ohio Meet in Oxford. She tore a hamstring, but the injury was more severe than it seemed to her.

“When it happened, my leg went goofy, I guess,” Scannell said. “It wouldn’t cooperate with what I wanted it to do. It went noodle-like almost. I was like, ‘OK, I think I should stop running now.’ I went over the first hurdle. I tried to do the second. I ran off and it didn’t hurt. I wasn’t in pain. I thought it was just a cramp. I wanted to run the 4×400. I was like, ‘I’m fine. I can do it.’ They were like, ‘Maybe you should stop?’

“There was a big divot in my leg. I had to get an MRI and it detached 18 centimeters from my hip to my knee. Normally when they detach it’s only two to three. Normally you don’t have to get surgery. Scar tissue would re-attach it. That one, it snapped down and folded over itself. Normally they’ll do one incision around your gluetal crest, but they did two because they couldn’t reach it.”

Hurdles were out and Scannell was relegated to the open 400. Miami hurdles coach Brian Etelman helped Scannell on her recovery.

“The most important thing was her confidence,” he said. “The very first thing is that’s it’s a bummer it happened. There’s probably a lot of people that don’t think you can come back from it. So for us, it was probably more mental than anything, just staying committed, staying on top of it and giving her time.

“I didn’t want to rush into a, ‘Hey, you’re done kind of scenario where, hey, we’re going to get right back into it.’ She needed some time to kind of grieve because it removed her from the sport a little bit. I think it made her appreciate of everything she has. Same thing on my end. Not necessarily take athletes for granted, but she’s such a good person. Not having her around kind of sucked. The approach is definitely more mental. That kind of grind attitude she has of never give up, never stop, doesn’t take no for an answer is what got her through it. That was probably the most important thing. Obviously, I had to adjust a lot of traning stuff. It forced me to be a better coach. There’s a lot of things traditionally that I couldn’t do. I had to think outside the box and so did she. We were on the same page all the time. That’s ultimately why it worked out so well.”

She ended her running career by helping the RedHawks 4×400 team win this year’s Mid-American Conference title in Akron.

Scannell graduated in May with a double major in sports studies and physical education with a sub focus on kinesiology and health with a minor in coaching. She is continuing her education at Miami’s graduate school.

As for Schattinger, her comeback trail has become clearer – knowing Scannell’s story. Schattinger received a medical redshirt for outdoor season and will be a freshman next year, but did not for indoor.

“Katie has been such an inspriation to everyone,” Schattinger said. “She was told her career was over. With Katie, it’s the mentality and attitude toward things. She wasn’t going to let anyone tell her she was done. It’s really inspiring to watch her come back from that injury. She would never speak highly of herself. She would never brag what she’s come back from. She’s one of the most humble people I have ever met. That’s what so awesome about her coming back because she deserves it, every bit.

“The times I got frustrated with my injury. All I thought was, ‘You’re healing and they didn’t tell you this was going to end your career.’ If Katie can do it, I think anybody could recover from anything. That was something that was never expected.”