Senior profiles: Hannah Santoni

Miami University | Kinesiology


She laces her shoes and walks to the starting line. Surrounded by other runners, Hannah Santoni, senior, is focused and prepared to race. As the clock starts, she emerges from the crowd and begins running the trail. Tired and out of breath, she crosses the finish line as her teammates cheer her on.  She completes the race, then starts to prepare for the next.

Santoni had played soccer for years, so she did not have time for other sports. When she decided to stop playing soccer, she chose to start a new sport: cross-country. Despite it being her first year on the team, she quickly excelled and won her very first race.

“I was so excited [when I won],” Santoni said. “I look back on that moment and think about how much further I had to go in the season, but knowing I won my first race was really uplifting for me. I didn’t know how I was going to do [and] had no idea what to expect. It was shocking and that made it all the more exciting to me.”

Although it was her first cross-country season, Santoni became one of the top members of the team and was a leader for the other girls according to Ally Gooden, sophomore. Gooden knew Santoni from yearbook, where Santoni is editor-in-chief, but became closer during the cross-country season.

“[Santoni] is very lively,” Gooden said. “Coming into cross-country and track her senior year, she leads by example. She’s always putting 100 percent effort in [cross-country and track].”

Santoni strengthened her relationships with her teammates, and new relationships were formed. Meredith Lang, junior, got to know Santoni better this past season.

“She’s a really fun teammate to have,” Lang said. “Since we run the same events in track, she’s always someone I can count on to hang out with between events.”

In the fall, Santoni had many successful races, and her hard work and dedication finally paid off when she qualified for the state cross-country meet. During the race, Santoni had a health issue and passed out a little before the three-mile mark. Although she faced challenges, she never stopped fighting and was able to cross the finish line.

“I had really high expectations,” Santoni said. “My goal was to [place] in the top 25. I was looking at times and knew it was a possibility, and to miss that mark so far [was] so disappointing.”

Despite a difficult last race, Santoni said the season was a success. To Santoni, her time on the cross-country team was defined by much more than the state meet.

“[The state meet] didn’t go well for me but all the relationships that I made on the team definitely made [cross-country] worth my time,” Santoni said. “[Cross-country] was something I had looked forward to doing for so long and being able to finally do something that I was so passionate about helped me end the year on a really good note.”