Hanna Green: Champion Even After High School

The girl we all knew would go far, headed for the olympics


Capri Cable, Editor-In-Chief


 “I never specifically wanted to be a runner, it wasn’t really even a sport I had ever considered,” said Hanna Green, 2013 graduate of Latrobe. “In middle school a few of my friends decided they were going to run cross country and I figured I would give it a shot since I had always done well running in the local road races when I ran them for fun. Once I started cross country my competitive nature kicked in and naturally I was pretty good at running which allowed me to be successful,” said Green.

Throughout her high school career, Hanna broke many of Greater Latrobe’s records and won many awards for herself and her team. She now attends Virginia Tech, participating in both cross country and track teams while working towards a degree in interior design.

Hanna is a very driven young girl with a strong idea of what she wants. “I liked the idea of winning and the fact that I could control how I did,”  said Green. “Sometimes I wonder why I run; it’s not always fun. Sometimes the workouts are horrible or the soreness and pain I experience from injuries can be excruciating, but I think what I like the most is the challenge. I love to surprise people, when someone doesn’t think I can do something, my goal is to prove them wrong. I like to be the best at whatever I do, and I won’t settle for anything less,” said Green.

“Nothing feels better than crossing the finish line first or finishing an extremely hard workout and giving it everything I’ve got. Overall I want to see just how good I can get and how far I can go with it and that’s why I continue to run,” said Green.

Among breaking Latrobe’s records, Hanna has also been on two school record breaking relays including the 4x800m and the distance medley relay for VT. Her freshman year in college, she was the fastest true freshman in the country. As a sophomore, Green finished with the year ranked as the 11th fastest runner in the USA, including professional runners. Currently, she is number one in the ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) in the 800m and holds records in the 800m indoor and outdoor as well as the 600m indoor record, she was also the fastest 600m runner in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) last year. Right now she is ranked third in the NCAA, which means she is the third fastest college runner in the country.

“Being a student athlete is a lot harder than most people think. I am always busy and most of the time exhausted,” said Green.  Green’s team trains about three hours a day, six days a week. “At times it becomes very hard to balance everything between going to class, studying,practicing, and traveling for meets. It can be hard to make time to do everything, especially to do everything well,” said Green.

As a college runner, she gets to travel all around the US to compete against different colleges. “I absolutely love traveling! I have been all over the United States,” said Green. Every year the National meet is held in Oregon where she competed twice.

When it comes to having a successful athletic career, having a strong familial base is always important. “My family has always been super supportive. They used to come to a lot of my high school races and even now although they can’t come to a lot of my meets because of the distance, they watch my races online,” said Green. Hanna appreciates her family and how much they have supported her throughout her accomplishments. “My parents have always supported me in anything I do, driving me to meets, or taking me to see good doctors. My mom used to make me the same dinner that I wanted before every race which was pretty much every week, even though the rest of my family had gotten sick of it after the first few times. They always will text or call me to wish me good luck before my races and to congratulate me afterwards and say how proud they are,” said Green.

Green is pleased with how her parents don’t push her too hard. “They have never pushed

me to run and if I just decided one day to quit they would completely support me. Mostly they just

want me be happy and to follow my dream and will help me in any way they can so that I can

achieve it,” said Green.

Along with being a talented collegiate athlete, comes difficulties. “The most difficult thing is mentality. You have to be very mentally tough to be a runner, you can’t be intimidated by who you are racing and how fast they are and you can’t worry about small aches and pains; you have to train through them,” said Green. Green also talks about how not getting overwhelmed or intimidated by distances or other workouts.  “When your coach tells you that you are doing a 12 mile run you can’t get overwhelmed you just have to take it one step at a time,” said Green.

The strict schedule and lifestyle is hard. “To be successful you have to eat healthy, sleep 8-10 hours each night, you can’t go to parties or goof off like other college students; you have to be careful with what you do because the last thing you want is to get injured. Basically everyday is just go go go and you never really get to stop,” said Green.

One of the hardest things about being a serious athlete is the injury that comes along with it. Currently Green is battling plantar fasciitis in both feet. “I have had the injury since summer and have been trying to run through it,” said Green. Green ended up stopping her cross-country season early, so that she could focus on getting better before track season starts. She has  been doing physical therapy multiple times a week, getting muscle massages and occasionally doing acupuncture. “I know that there are consequences of being a high intensity athlete but I love running and don’t plan on stopping anytime soon,” said Green.

Throughout her career at Greater Latrobe, Hanna’s main high school coaches were Todd Simpson and Tony Mehalic. “They both believed in me and pushed me to be the best athlete I could be even though I would always give them a hard time and complain about workouts even when I knew they weren’t that hard,” said Green.  

“In high school I would get nervous about every race I ran even if it were just a simple dual meet. Now, I don’t even think about who I’m running against, half of the races I run I won’t look at the race lineups and don’t know who I’m competing against until I get to the starting line. Doing this I am more confident and only worry about myself,” said Green.

“Both coaches pushed me when they knew I wasn’t trying as hard as I could and they also did everything they could to give me the best opportunities,” said Green.

Coach Mehalic would drive Green and a few other runners to meets in Edinboro or even Ohio to compete in the winter even if it meant driving through snowstorms. “Both coaches put up with my constant complaining and me trying to talk them out of doing workouts or just trying to change the workout in general. I was quite a handful in high school but they never gave up on me,” said Green.

“Coach Simpson always told me that the harder I worked in cross country, the better track runner I would be, unfortunately I never really listened until I got to VT. But overall running cross country with Simpson, and many of the track workouts with Mehalic were very helpful to transitioning to training at the collegiate level,” said Green.

In high school, Hanna was a two-time County Champion, a four-time WPIAL Cross Country medalist and a four-time PIAA (State) qualifier.  “During her four years on the varsity cross country team she was our number one runner in every meet.  Hanna was successful in cross country but even more so in Track where she was a WPIAL Champion and earned medals at the PIAA Championship meet,” said coach, Todd Simpson.  

“As a coach it is exciting to see someone you have worked with all season and for her entire running career perform at such a high level,” said Simpson.

“With the talent and ability we saw during her time here it is no surprise that she has had success at the college level.  Her indoor ACC 800m Championship and her Bronze medal in the NCAA Championships in the 800m are certainly high points and are examples of how her ability and hard work have translated into success on the college running scene.  I think she still has more success in line for the future as she continues to train with bigger prizes in mind on the national and, potentially, world stage,” said Simpson.

At VT her main coach is Ben Thomas. “He has been a great coach the past few years and has really allowed me to reach my full potential as a runner. He has been very supportive as a coach and has provided me all of the necessary means to compete at the highest level as a runner. He has taught me to believe in myself and not worry about my competition,” said Green.

Though Green was featured in many issues of the High Post, and The Bulletin throughout her high school career, she has also shown Virginia Tech and the college world what she’s made of. She has  been featured in the Hokie Sports magazine (Virginia Tech’s Sports Publication). She also has had many articles on Virginia Tech’s website, and some video interviews on Hokie Vision.

Hanna has dreams of going to the olympics and also has opportunities to train with the olympic team. There are a lot of opportunities to run for the USA team at other meets that she  believes she could definitely make. “The Olympics is definitely something I have been thinking about. As of right now my goal is to

someday make the Olympics whether it’s this year or at the next Olympic games or even if I don’t

make it at least I will know that I tried my best,” said Green.  

“I’m doing a lot of the same workouts that I did last year but this year I will be doing them at faster paces. My training is based more on distance rather than sprinting meaning that I will run up to 60 miles a week but I will also do some speed workouts throughout the week,” said Green.

“I am proud of everything that I have done so far whether it be winning a race or just making it through a tough workout. I’m proud of myself for sticking with running and never giving up even though sometimes that’s all I want to do. I also am proud of myself for never settling and always wanting to accomplish more,” said Green.


Photos by Dave Knachel, Sports Photographer for Virginia Tech