Abbey Nechanicky Blessed To Lace Up Spikes After Injury

* Abbey Neckanicky (left) competes at the Lake Conference Tri in 2020

"Without my injury, I wouldn't be the same right now. It's made me stronger. I've been going into every race with a grateful mind and a grateful heart. I'm blessed for the opportunity to lace up my spikes."

By Olivia Ekpone -- MileSplit

About a year ago, Abbey Nechanicky raced on the state course at the St. Olaf High School Showcase. That became her only cross country race during the 2021 season before she suffered an injury. 

Last weekend, she faced the same course. Neckanicky continued the tradition of writing "blessed" on her hand and lined up with her teammates from Wayzata (MN) High School, ready to conquer the rust-buster.

This time, the outcome was different. 

"Last fall right after the St. Olaf Showcase, I couldn't even walk," Nechanicky told MileSplit's Olivia Ekpone. "From one year to the next it was a different result. It took a lot to get where I am now."

Her result was a time of 17:08.90. She set a new 5K personal best to win a meet she's been running on since her seventh-grade year in 2018.

Her performance earned a 152 speed rating and she leads the state at the distance by nearly 20 seconds. 

"Going into [St. Olaf High School Showcase], I knew I could run a pretty fast time based on how training has been going," Nechanicky said. "I wasn't surprised and I felt great. I'm looking forward to our upcoming races."

She said her injury has taught her patience and resilience, and with her final season underway, she couldn't be more grateful to run with Wayzata.

"Without my injury, I wouldn't be the same right now," she said. "It's made me stronger. I've been going into every race with a grateful mind and a grateful heart. I'm blessed for the opportunity to lace up my spikes."

As the year unfolds, Nechanicky said one of her goals is to make history by becoming the fourth Minnesota girl to break 17 minutes for 5K.

For Nechanicky, it doesn't matter when it happens, but she feels like the possibility is in her favor. 

* Abbey Nechanicky joins MileSplit's Olivia Ekpone to share her life after her injury and the goals for the season

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In the meantime, Nechanicky's winning time holds as Minnesota's No. 9 performance in the history books. The fastest girl in history is Stillwater graduate Analee Weaver, who clocked a 16:42 back in 2020.

Tierney Wolfgram (16:48.67) and Emily Covert (16:55.71) are the other two performers in Minnesota history to break through the 17-minute barrier. 

The next meet on Nechanicky's calendar is the Roy Griak Invitational on September 23 at Les Bolstad.  

She will be able to face competition from outside of the state, which is something she's looking forward to. 

"The biggest thing is to run my own race [at Roy Griak]," Nechanicky said. "From a team's standpoint, we don't need to do anything special or anything out of the ordinary. If we all just do our job, we will come up on top. For me, I will continue to have fun and embrace the opportunity to race again. I haven't raced Roy Griak since my freshman year. I'm looking forward to it."

As her senior season comes to a close, Nechanicky is looking to grab her first MSHSL State Cross Country Championship title with her team, qualify for Team Nationals and compete at the Eastbay Cross Country Championships.

Nechanicky already earned her first state title in the spring in the 3,200m with a personal best of 10:09.50 and then she finished third in the 1,600m with a lifetime best of 4:54.34.

Along with these performances and a great summer of training, it boosted her confidence going into this cross country season, which is looking bright for her in the months to come. 

* Abbey Nechanicky at a Lake Conference meet in 2020

Photo Credit: Teresa Brubaker 

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