BY DARREN REESE
When Chelsey Carpenter has a bad day, she goes for a run. Her form of "anger therapy" has paid off with another reward, though.
The Greeneville High School cross country and track standout announced Thursday afternoon that she will continue her career at the collegiate level in the fall as she joins the Milligan College program.
"Since I was in the sixth grade, I've always wanted to run," Carpenter said. "Running keeps me sane. If I have a bad day, I just go for a run and feel one hundred times better."
"People say running is the cheapest form of therapy, and it really is," she laughed. "If I don't run for a while, you can tell it. I get cranky."
Carpenter has been an All-Blue Ridge Athletic Conference performer for Greeneville the past three seasons. She made the All-Region team in 2010.
She helped the Lady Devils to a TSSAA Class AA state championship in 2010 and a runner-up showing in 2011. Greeneville advanced to state all four years of Carpenter's career, finishing seventh in 2009 and ninth this past season.
"Chelsey will be missed by the Lady Devils' cross country program," said Greeneville head coach Larry Blalock. "She was not a very strong runner when she first came out in middle school, but through hard work, dedication and lots of miles, she has made herself into an outstanding runner."
Carpenter backs up her coach's sentiments that she didn't have a clue about running when she first joined the middle school team as a sixth grader.
"I finished dead last in my very first race out at Kinser Park," she remembered.
When Carpenter got to the high school level, though, she became more dedicated to the sport.
"I found a passion for it," she explained. "I began picking up my milage and training faster. I also ran with the guys a lot, which helped a lot."
Carpenter now runs year round, between high school cross country and track, and training for marathons and other races throughout the winter and summer months.
She also excels in the classroom. She is a member of the national honors soceity, and has also been a recipeint of an award the school gives out to those athletes who have a grade point average above 3.5.
She plans on majoring in occupational therapy in college, with ambitions of some day using it to do missionary work around the world.
When Carpenter looks back at her high school career, the state championship will always be one of the major highlights.
"Nobody expected us to win it, so that was a really big deal," she remembered.. "We won it because we had a strong team and all of us were really close in times."
"Coming in runner-up the next year was also a big accomplishment."