BY JOE BYRD
ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
Greeneville High School junior runner Hannah Rhodes has been successful at the state level since making her debut for the Lady Devils.
Last week, Rhodes was successful at the national level.
Rhodes brought home two medals from the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Houston, placing third in the 2000 meter steeplechase and fourth in the 3000 meters.
"I was pretty excited about it. I think it was the best I've ran there before. I've never gotten that close to medaling," Rhodes said.
Rhodes competed in the AAU nationals for Slipstream Track & Field out of Johnson City. She runs in the Young Women's division for 17-18 year olds where she also placed ninth out of 40 competitors in the 1500 meters in Texas.
Rhodes said she enjoys running the steeplechase the best, and it was her best result. She placed third with a time of 7:54.55. She was fourth in the 3000 with a time of 11:12.21. In the 1500, Rhodes ran 5:04.55.
Prior to competing at the AAU Junior Olympics in Houston, Rhodes ran a couple of meets in Knoxville. She said she likes competing in the AAU events because it keeps her in good form for the high school season.
"I think it makes me better because it keeps me running over the summer," Rhodes said.
Greeneville High School cross country coach Larry Blalock agrees.
"One thing it does is keeps her focused on competition," Blalock said. "That helps our high school program. There are some people here who would like to start an AAU program in Greeneville. Maybe seeing her have success there will help."
Rhodes runs both cross country and track for Greeneville High School.
She was a member of the 2010 cross country team that won the Class A/AA state championship, leading Greeneville as a freshman with an eighth place individual finish. Rhodes placed second in the state track meet in the 1600 the following spring.
As a sophomore, Rhodes placed 16th individually in the state cross country championships, helping the Lady Devils finish as runnersup in the team competition.
Greeneville is already in full swing practicing for the 2012 cross country season. The team's first meet is Aug. 21 at Panther Creek.
Rhodes believes it can be another successful season.
"I am really looking forward to it," she said. "I think it's going to be a good season. I really enjoy it. It's a lot of fun." Our team is really good to run with. They are good people."