Senior splits her time between several sports

Senior Erin Sullivan rakes in honors in soccer, track and cross country

Senior Erin Sullivan shoots the ball in a game on Aug. 27 against Greenwood. She scored the tying goal seconds later

Leah Newhouse

Senior Erin Sullivan shoots the ball in a game on Aug. 27 against Greenwood. She scored the tying goal seconds later

Michael Long, Reporter

The runners step up to the start line set up to race in the Columbus North invitational but Erin Sullivan’s competition doesn’t stand a chance. She blows the other competitors out of the water with a time of 18:45, beating second place by an entire 15 seconds. They announce her name at the award ceremony but walk over to place a first place medal around teammate Christy Dean’s neck.

Sullivan left as soon as she finished in a hurry to get to an awaiting soccer game.

Rushing from races to soccer games is just part of what Sullivan has to do since she is a record breaking track and cross country runner and one of the best players on SHS’s varsity soccer team.

For track, Sullivan holds the school record for the 800 meter run with a time of 2:11, the 1600 meter run with a time of 5:05, was a leg on the record breaking 4×800 relay team which ran a 9:29 and was a runner up in state individually for the 800 meter run. For cross country, she has the record the five kilometer record.

Sullivan is also a two-time Marion County champion for track, a conference Indiana champion for cross country and she’s even been all-state in track. She’s won seven sectional titles and is being recruited by division one schools like Notre Dame and Indiana University.

“If you’re talking to me about times, performances, achievements, I believe that Erin Sullivan is the best female distance runner to ever go through Southport High School,” said girls track and cross country coach Nathan Fishel .

Sullivan believes a reason she’s successful at running is because all the years she has played soccer has conditioned her body. Between years of soccer and years of cross country and track, running has become second nature to Sullivan. But when it comes to choosing between the two, Sullivan struggles a bit.

“Most of the time I’m doing both at the same time, so it’s kind of good to have a combination of both,” Sullivan said. “I would say I probably still like soccer more just because I’ve been doing it longer.”

In high school, Sullivan has to choose between soccer and cross country often because the seasons overlap. In the fall, she participates in school soccer and cross country. When spring comes around, she has track and plays soccer with a club team. Managing all of that brings on challenges for Sullivan.

“Its pretty difficult (and) I’m always really busy,” Sullivan said. “Most of the time running is the sacrifice. If I have a soccer game on a meet day, then I’m going to play soccer instead of (running).”

When it comes to soccer, Sullivan is arguably just as successful as she is at track and cross country. She has led the team in goals scored in the past three years and is also leading the team in assists this year. She has been named season MVP twice and was even recognized as an all conference and all county player her junior year. She is also only the third girl to be recognized as an all district player from SHS in the last 23 years.

When some athletes stack up achievements like this, they stop playing for the team and start playing for themselves, but according to coaches, Sullivan is not like that at all.

“I believe that she is an exceptional teammate from the standpoint that she’s always encouraging, she’s always can do, she’s always positive….” Fishel said. “She’s not pretentious, she doesn’t think of herself as better than somebody else. She brings high class, she brings competitiveness….in my mind she’s the best kind of teammate.”

According to SHS girls’ varsity soccer head coach Dan McLaughlin, Sullivan is a total team player and does everything with no complaints and no questions.

In both sports Sullivan brings more than just talent which is helpful when it comes to taking it to the next level. In Sullivan’s case the next level is college. She is going to have to make the tough decision between running and playing soccer.

Sullivan says it looks like she’s is going to be running because she has a lot of schools reaching out to her and she hasn’t reached out to schools about playing soccer. Whichever path she chooses, Erin Sullivan has a chance to do big things, whether she’s running on the track or down the field.