By MARINA WATERS
If you had asked David Crockett High School senior cross country runner Breanna Roy two years ago if she thought she’d be continuing her running career in college, she probably would have given you a “no”.
But on Monday, Nov. 20, Roy was able to prove herself wrong by signing to run at the University of Tennessee at Martin.
“I really wanted to run in college. The goal was the olympics, but college first, get my degrees to become what I want to be,” Roy said. “But I didn’t know if I was going to get it because I’d been out my sophomore and junior year, wasn’t really successful at all.
“I just didn’t feel like anybody wanted me really.”
Roy is a four-year runner and was all conference and all region each year throughout her Crockett career. She also been an all-state runner for three years. But what might be most impressive are the obstacles the UT Martiner was able to overcome.
After earning all conference and making it to state as a freshman, Roy learned she had bursitis and tendinitis in her knees.
Then, as she started her junior year, she was diagnosed with compartment syndrome, which is a condition that occurs when pressure within the muscles builds to dangerous levels.
“I had surgery not even two weeks after they diagnosed me with it,” Roy said. “I had it for three months, was up and walking by two and was back running after three. They said that I probably shouldn’t have been out of a wheelchair for eight months.”
But that didn’t stop her.
For head cross country coach Mark Jennings, Roy has been the pinnacle of a hard working cross country runner.
“We’ve just basically built the program around her,” Jennings said. “She’s worked hard and she shows up. That’s the thing with cross country; you gotta work hard and you’ve gotta be there everyday. You’ve gotta show up everyday. You’ve gotta put in the training. Nobody’s born to where they can just go out there and do it. You’ve gotta come out and put in the time. And she does that.”
As if Roy hadn’t achieved enough as an individual, she also led a Lady Pioneer cross country team who, for the first time in 35 years, made it to the state championship meet.
Not only did the girls make it to the meet, but they snagged the eighth spot with the fastest time for any David Crockett girls team in history.
“I feel like everybody had the jitters just because five of them were first-timers,” Roy said. “But overall, I think we did pretty good.”
Apart from what she’s accomplished as a runner, Jennings said Roy is an exemplary person as well.
“Beyond being a runner, she’s just a wonderful person. I had her for AP government,” Jennings said. “She works hard and Coach (Lauren) Murr was talking about how good she was in her classes and how she has her as a teacher’s aide — she’s just a good person. He’s got a big heart and beyond her athletic skills, she’s the kind of person you want to be around.”
She overcame her obstacles and achieved some conference, region and state-competition goals. And now, as Roy prepares to head off to Martin, Tennessee — where she plans to study to become a veterinarian — the senior cross country runner smiles as she looks back on her time as a Lady Pioneer.
“It feels pretty good to be a Pioneer,” Roy said. “It’s been good to be a cross country Pioneer.”