Gretchen House is on her way to Jefferson City for the Class 1 State Track Meet this weekend and is planning a trip to Hamburg, Germany, for the World Triathlon Series next year.
House, a Chadwick freshman, qualified for State by winning both the 1,600 (5:45) and 3,200 (12:52) in Class 1 Sectional 4 action this past Saturday.
Her immediate success in track stems from her background as a gymnast in her early youth and her triathlon training over the past three years.
“I was a gymnast for a long time before I had a back injury,” House said. “I wanted something else that would challenge me and there was something about the triathlon appealed to me as what I wanted to do.
“I already had a lot of strength built up from gymnastics,” she added. “I’ve had to work hard to get where I'm at. I’ve always felt God gave me ability and I'm trying to use it the best I can.”
House’s endurance in the 1,600 and 3,200 is a reflection of her triathlon training. A typical triathlon consists of a half-mile swim, a 12.4-mile bike ride and a 3.1-mile run.
She trains by running on Chadwick’s new track, biking along back roads around Sparta and swimming at the Ozark Community Center.
“It depends which one is going best at the time,” House said of which portion of the triathlon she enjoys the most. “Biking was fun to learn and it's the one I've progressed the most. Swimming in a lake is always fun. As long as my head's on right, running is probably my best event.”
House qualified for the World Triathlon by finishing eighth in a U.S.A Triathlon in Iriving, Texas, in April. The date for the World Triathlon is expected to be between August-October in 2023.
“I’m really happy to get to go to Germany,” House said. “It’s been a dream for a long time. I’ve thought about switching my (foreign language) class from Spanish to German for my sophomore year.”
House’s margins of victory Saturday were :05 in the 1,600 and :21 in the 3,200.
“It was nice to have competition to push me,” she said. “They were there with me a little longer than I expected. But it was great, a lot of fun. I was glad I was able to pull away.”
House is entering State with the mindset of winning a gold medal in the 1,600.
“That's the goal,” she said. “My best time is 5:30. My goal is to hit 5:25 at State. That’s what I’m working toward. The 3,200 was my favorite event at the beginning of the year, but right now it's the mile.”