HELENA – Carroll College hurdler Rhiannon Sturgess is one of the best in the country. The senior just moved up to ninth in the NAIA in the 400-meter hurdles. The grueling race is one of the more difficult ones to run, but that challenge is what draws Sturgess to the track.
“The open 400 is fun and everything, but for some reason I just run better if I have obstacles in my way,” said Sturgess, a former Kalispell Flathead High School standout. “Having those short-term goals helps me finish a race. It’s almost distracting while you’re running, so you don’t think about how much pain you’re in and you just think about getting to the next hurdle.”
It’s advice Sturgess takes from the track and applies to her busy life as a college student.
“Because you kind of live your life week by week in college and you’re trying to make every deadline and not thinking too far ahead into the future,” added Rhiannon. “Just taking things as they come, is my strategy.”
It’s no surprise Rhiannon thinks that way, because the nationally ranked athlete is right at home breaking down the inner workings of the human mind as a psychology major.
“I’m just interested in psychology. I was a nursing student coming in, but then we started getting really medical and I realized it wasn’t my cup of tea. I’m a little squeamish,” laughed Sturgess. “So I switched in psychology and I feel like it has versatile applications to different graduate school programs. I’m not sure what I’m going to go into next, but I think that I build myself a pretty good foundation with psychology.”
“My dream would be clinical psychology, but that is really competitive and I’m well aware about how to be realistic about reaching that goal,” Sturgess added. “So I’m also thinking about law lately, but these are just things I am thinking about, not necessarily dedicated to yet.”
Sturgess might not have a locked-in path yet, but if the 400 hurdles are any indication, she’ll overcome any obstacles just fine.