OU Track Sprinter Faster Than A Treadmill< < Back to
She’s a sophomore with wheels for feet – Marissa Handel received the title “Beast of the Week” for the Women’s Track and Field Team.
The speedster from Cleveland started out playing soccer.
But she fell in love with track.
Her endurance led her to become a sprinter for her high school track and field team. Handel said she always knew she was faster than most girls at her school.
“Someone told me to try track and I thought it didn’t look that fun, so then I was like ‘Okay,'” she said. “In middle school I was undefeated and I thought ‘Oh this is pretty fun,’ and then high school got more competitive, so I just started competing.”
Her high school coaches were shocked to see the speed coming from her powerful legs, which led to the decision to put her in the 400 meter race.
“So this is something that I enjoy,” she said. “It’s like speed and endurance and it’s something I have both of.”
OU Never in the Picture
Her senior year, she started looking at colleges, but Ohio University wasn’t in her mind.
“I didn’t want to look at it because everyone at home was going there so I wanted to get away from all these people; I want to meet new people,” she said. “And then I visited and I fell in love with the campus and the coaches, and the team was very nice.”
She started her freshman year with a record season best time at 59.31. Now a sophomore, Handel has reached her own personal best: a 58.03, which is an average of 15.3 mph – faster than most treadmills.
Head Women’s Track Coach Clay Calkins is one of Handel’s biggest fans and said he was glad she joined the Bobcat family.
“Coming in as a freshman last year, she was a blue chip recruit for us,” he said. “Other schools she was looking at were Pitt, another MAC school, so we were lucky enough to get her and she wanted to come to Ohio University – thank goodness! She is just a talent.”
Calkins said he has seen Handel’s teammates react positively to her upbeat personality.
“She sets the bar high; she has a lot of intrinsic motivation and that motivates others around her,” he said.
Handel said she doesn’t notice a change in her times, but is just happy when it’s over.
“At the end, you are just so happy with the results and you are like, ‘Wow all the hard work paid off, ‘” she said.