Veteran runner shines on, off the track


Photo Courtesy of Marin Independent Journal

Mckillop-Herr competes during MCAL Championships alongside teammate Finleigh Levinson.

Noel Rockwell, Feature Editor

Shannon McKillop-Herr is a star athlete who has maintained a balanced life while competing. She has been running her whole life and decided she would continue the sport she loved in high school.

Now, she’s a four-year varsity cross country and track athlete. She’s the captain of both teams and consistently places high in the rankings.

Finding success, however, isn’t what keeps Mckillop-Herr coming back.

“I spent so much of my life doing this. Even when I am not running, I have to be thinking about eating right, sleeping enough, staying hydrated, stretching. We plan our lives around the sport, even though most of us won’t be running in college.

I think it’s really about the team. If I didn’t like the Drake team, I wouldn’t be doing it. I love the sport, but at the end of the day it’s really about the people.” Mckillop-Herr said.

The sense of unity on the team is something she has felt since the start. It led the team to the state championships, with Mckillop-Herr remaining in the top seven of the team as a freshman.
It wasn’t until her senior year that she, as captain, was able to return to that same level of team success.

“This last Cross Country season was really monumental for us. We won MCALs for the first time in 37 years, got second in NCS, and finally were able to go to State again.

I have known a lot of the girls since elementary school and have been running with them for so long. We’re a family and being able to do this with them meant a lot.” Mckillop-Herr said.

This past March, she became the only recipient here of the Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship: an award for which she and athletes Noah Bice and Brendan Corr were all finalists.

According to Mckillop-Herr, the scholarship is built around three basic principles: improving yourself, improving your teammates, and improving your sport.

“I don’t think I am the only Drake athlete that embodies those principles; I think most do, so I am happy that I was able to represent my peers when being recognized for the award.” McKillop-Herr said.

Outside of running, Mckillop-Herr has a variety of extracurriculars. As a member of SEA-DISC, she has been involved with several internships regarding environmental efforts. Additionally, she is an honor student and balances her schedule all while taking four AP classes.

“I prioritize what’s important. I work hard in school, dedicate myself to a lot of different activities, but I also allow myself to have time to relax and spend time with friends and family. ” Mckillop-Herr said.

In pursuit of her interests, Mckillop-Herr plans to attend UC Berkeley in the fall.

“I will be majoring in environmental science, so whatever opportunities that come with that I absolutely plan on taking advantage of. I do know, however, that my major won’t restrict me from studying or exploring other options. I am excited to be able to discover new academic subjects or pursuits that previously were never options.” Mckillop-Herr said.

Although she will not be running at the Division one level for Berkeley, she plans on remaining involved with the sport either through intramural or club teams. It is there that she hopes to meet friends and become connected with a good support network.

“Runners are unique because you have to be sort of crazy to enjoy running. It’s every other sports’ punishment, yet we do it without hesitation. That sort of atmosphere creates a great bond among the team.”Mckillop-Herr said.