Cross Country, Track
Favorite athletes: Apollo Ono, Michael Phelps or any runner (Lauren Fleshman, Shalane Flanagan)
Favorite team: U.S. Olympic Team
Favorite memory competing in sports: My first race at the Council Rock Invitational my freshman year.
Most embarrassing/funniest thing that has happened while competing in sports: When I played lacrosse, I was running down the field thinking that I had the ball in my stick but not realizing that I had dropped it until I saw the other team with the ball running to the opposite end of the field.
Music on iPod: Coldplay, fun, Of Monsters and Men, 30 Seconds to Mars
Words to live by: ‘Never give up.’
One goal before turning 30: Visit all 50 states
One thing people don’t know about me: I have an extensive shoe collection.
By Alex Frazier
No, that’s not the name of a new robotic hero.
But it is the moniker the seniors at Pennsbury bestowed on Ann Herman when she came out for the cross country team four years ago.
“I guess it was because I never stopped running,” she said. “I was kind of like a machine. I was told to do something and I’d do it. I just kind of went with it.”
“She ran with the type of mechanics that it didn’t really look like she was going very fast,” said coach Don Little. “And she doesn’t have the greatest leg speed, but at the pace she was able to run with those mechanics she would eventually run the field down. She would get out in a decent spot and then just reel people in. She’d get in a rhythm and manage that throughout 5,000 meters.”
“Once I find that pace, I go with that,” she said. “It’s not like I sprint people out.”
In other words, she likes to have a comfortable lead before the finish.
Herman actually started her athletic endeavors in soccer and cross country. But when she didn’t make the travel soccer team, she switched to cross country when she was in eighth grade.
Her sister Catherine and her friend Olivia Sargent talked her into running. Ironically, Olivia’s father Greg was the cross country coach of the local CYO team,
“I decided to try something new and ended up liking it,” said Herman.
Cross country suited her style of running.
“I wasn’t fast,” she said. “I didn’t really like sprints.”
Pennsbury’s cross country program burgeoned over the four years Herman was a part of it, culminating in two state team titles, in no small measure because of her contributions.
“Before she came we were making some progress,” said Little. “She was one of the key components that helped the program move forward.”
In addition to her feats on the cross country course, she was a captain for two years.
Not confrontational by nature, Herman allowed her actions to speak for themselves.
“She’s a lead-by-example type of girl,” said Little. “It’s a quality you look for in a leader. She’s a model student, polite and well mannered, and very coachable.”
“I liked it,” she said. “It was exciting to be the captain especially winning states. I liked the team. It was a good experience.”
Herman had a checkered career in track. She had a promising start, finishing eighth in districts in the two-mile as a freshman. But then the next two years injuries kept her from competing.
This year as a senior, she just missed qualifying for states in the two-mile. Though she ran the qualifying time at districts, she finished 11thand only the first eight with qualifying times went.
In her four years of running at Pennsbury, Herman finished 17that states in cross country as a freshman, sixth in the 3,000 in indoor and eighth in District One in outdoor track. As a sophomore, she was injured part way through cross country and didn’t do well at states, but she finished seventh in the 3,000 during the winter. She reinjured herself in the spring and didn’t run.
As a junior she and her teammates won the first of two state titles, as she finished 21st. Winter and spring seasons were once again wiped out with injuries.
“For a while my bones weren’t as strong as they should be,” she said.
The result was a series of stress fractures.
“I had a bad habit of overtraining,” she said. “I wouldn’t let the stress fracture wholly heal and I’d get hurt again. It was a cycle. It’s something I have to learn to be better at.”
As a senior she had her best finish, crossing the line in third place to lead her team to its second straight title.
“It was a shocking race,” she said. “I was happy.”
She didn’t run in the winter and finished 11thin the two-mile in track.
Herman also excelled in the classroom. At Pennsbury she took eight advanced placement courses between her junior and senior years.
Her combined SAT scores totaled an impressive 2020. She was ranked 33rdin a class of 750.
Herman was also a member of the National Honor Society and played the saxophone in the concert band for three years.
She started playing the sax in fourth grade.
“That’s when you could start playing an instrument, and I wanted to,” she said. “My dad played it, so I kind of went with that.”
For community service, Herman volunteered at the Sunrise Nursing Home, where she played games and did crafts with the seniors.
She also coached a bowling buddy in Special Olympics.
Next year she will be attending Cornell. At first she was looking at smaller schools like Williams and Amherst. But the Cornell coach took an early interest in her and that paid off.
“I really liked the coach,” she said. “He stood out among a lot of the coaches I talked to. It felt like a place that wanted me.”
She was so impressed she applied for early decision.
“I wanted to get the college thing done with and it worked out,” she said.
She will most likely major in economics.
Herman plans on running all three seasons at Cornell. Of the three seasons, cross country is her favorite. The Big Red’s hilly terrain should get her in shape for any cross country event she encounters.
“It can’t get much harder than that,” she said, “but I don’t mind the hills. It’s part of cross country.”
She’s already started her training program, which she described as “hard but reasonable.” In cross country, at least, Herman expects to be competitive as a freshman.
“I hope I’m in the mix,” she said.
Little believes that Herman’s best races are ahead of her, when she gets a chance to compete at longer distances.
In cross country she will be moving up to 6,000 meters and sometimes 8,000. In track she will also have the option of running a 10K.
Ultimately, though, Herman could turn out to be a marathoner.
“I actually want to try a marathon,” she said. “We’ll see.”