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Local Wingate student helps cross country team have great year

| November 26, 2013
Cross country: Brianna Stevens and her Wingate University cross country team had an amazing season this fall. Photo contributed to The Beacon by Wingate’s athletic department

Cross country: Brianna Stevens and her Wingate University cross country team had an amazing season this fall. Photo contributed to The Beacon by Wingate’s athletic department

WINGATE N.C. – The Wingate University women’s cross country team, which includes Coshocton native Brianna Stevens, finished the year 26th (out of 32 teams) in the 2013 NCAA Division II national championship meet Saturday, Nov. 23.

Wingate also won the NCAA Division II Southeast Region women’s cross country team race Nov. 9, to take the school’s first-ever XC region team title and they claimed the South Atlantic Conference title.

Stevens endured two major injuries and countless hours of rehabilitation to get ready for these opportunities.

At the end of her sophomore cross country season in 2011, Stevens felt pain in her foot during the SAC championship meet. She finished the SAC event and raced at regionals.

“I wanted to finish the season for the team,” Stevens said. “The pain was excruciating…and I ran a terrible race (at regionals).”

She saw several doctors.

“I saw the team doctor…I saw a doctor in Ohio…I saw a doctor in Charlotte,” Stevens said. “They (the doctors) were trying to figure out what was wrong…at the time, no one knew. Finally, I saw my doctor in Ohio during the 2011 Christmas break. In January, he said I definitely needed surgery. The local doctors agreed…and I had tendon replacement surgery on my left foot during the 2012 spring break (in Ohio).”

Stevens worked hard during the summer of 2012.

“I was rehabilitating and pushing…trying to do my best during workouts,” she said. “I returned to Wingate for my junior year of cross country…and during the second pre-season workout…I chipped the fourth metatarsal in my right foot.”

She was out for the 2012 season, but didn’t let her latest setback stop her.

“I consider it a blessing I was hurt…getting hurt helped renew my love and passion for running,” Stevens said. “During the summer (of 2013), my teammates and my coaches were always there for me…throughout the second surgery and my recovery…motivating me and encouraging me…It was a tremendous summer as I prepared for the 2013 season.”

All her hard work also helped her earn All-South Atlantic Conference and All-Southeast Region honors.

Wingate University is located in Wingate, N.C.

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