TERRE HAUTE — One can understand if Elwood’s Courtney Todd began to lose heart a little this spring.
She had just lost her final chance to compete in high school athletics when the track and field season was canceled due to COVID-19, and it appeared that was going to be the end of her career as a whole.
But, after some last-minute recruiting communication — and a little advice from a friend — Todd did find a landing spot, signing to run cross country and track and field at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute.
And it was a chat with former Elwood softball star — and current SMWC player — Jillian Reese that helped make it happen.
“I was talking to one of my friends, Jillian, who goes up there,” Todd said. “And she was talking to me about it and it sounded like a good college. She said, ‘I wouldn’t tell just anyone else to go there, but I could see you going there.’
“So I started talking to the coach … and it sounded like he was doing it because he really loved his job. It wasn’t a feeling that he was doing it because it was a job. There was a connection, I felt.”
Todd will also run in the distance events for the Pomeroys track team in the spring. She is very excited to realize a goal she was never sure she could achieve.
“I’m pretty sure that if you had told me at the start of my high school career that I would go to college to run, I wouldn’t have believed you,” she said.
Todd will study kinesiology at SMWC, with a goal of finding a career that keeps her involved with athletics. She would like to work with young people, but kinesiology also leaves a door open to pursue jobs with professional sports teams.
“I’m not quite sure, but I know I want to stick somewhere around sports,” Todd said. “I know with the major, I can go with an athletic trainer or stick with the physical therapy thing.”
Todd respects the coronavirus and what it can do but feels her freshman year at college will not go the way of her final spring at Elwood. She adds, while schedules are still being sorted out, she will be running this fall.
“I know most people are very self-conscious about it, but I’m not too worried. As long as I’m taking certain precautions, I’ll be fine,” she said. “We don’t know how it’s going to look. They just made a change that we go to school until Thanksgiving, and then we move out. We were asking our coach how that was looking, and he doesn’t know how it’s going to look, and they’re still talking about it.”
Her coaches at SMWC are checking in regularly, monitoring Todd’s mileage and times. The former Panther said she did not have to alter much about her workout regimen during the recent shutdown.
“I basically do the same thing. I just put on my shoes and run,” Todd said. “If I’m doing some endurance, I’ll go to the track and run some stairs.”
With so much hanging over the heads of graduating seniors, Todd concedes she does feel a little uneasiness with moving away from home, and the pandemic precautions just add an extra layer to that.
“I’m not quite sure,” she said. “I think it’s just me not being around my parents. I mean, I know they’re just a call away and everything, but them not being there with me and having to do everything on my own is going to be tough at first.
“But it will ease up.”