Athlete Spotlight: Clarke County girls' cross country runner Hannah Ventura

Clarke County girls' cross country runner Hannah Ventura

Clarke County High School 17-year-old senior

Sport: Cross country

Parents: Juana Rodriguez and Ruben Ventura

Hometown: Berryville

What do you love about cross country: The people and the friends that you make. You spend so much time training together and you can form really strong friendships. 

Most memorable moment in cross country: Last year at the state championship [for Group 2A; the Eagles placed fourth]. I had never gone to states before and competing with my team was really fun and really memorable.  

Most embarrassing moment in cross country: There was one race last year where I felt terrible throughout the whole entire thing. I didn't realize how bad I had done until afterwards when I heard my time. 

Most difficult moment in cross country: At the Judges Classic last year I felt like everybody was really falling behind. I was not feeling good that day either. It's a very difficult course to run. I saw how everyone was feeling and I just told myself that I've really got to step up so I can help my team. (Ventura ran Clarke County's fourth-fastest time at the meet.) 

Three people you can have dinner with, dead or alive: Jo March from "Little Women"; I feel like she's a very strong character and someone who I admire and I'd like to be more like. I want to be more outgoing and really follow my dreams. Timothée Chalamet; he's one of my favorite actors. Despite his fame, he's still really humble, and I admire that. And Martin Luther King Jr.; he fought for a very honorable cause. It would be nice to tell him that his fight was worth it, and that I believe in what he believes in — equality for everyone. 

Biggest athletic influence: My brother David [a 2020 Clarke County graduate]. He's the one who convinced me to do cross country in the first place. I feel like throughout all these years he's really supported me and motivated me to continue running. 

Who’s your favorite teacher: Ms. [Mary] Elson. She teaches business at Clarke County. I feel like she's been a mentor for me. I'm also involved in DECA, and she's the leader for that. I travel to places with her for competitions and I feel like she's a very fun teacher who relates to her students.   

Favorite sports team: Real Madrid soccer

Favorite movie: “Little Women" (2019 version)

Favorite TV show: “The Umbrella Academy" 

Favorite song: "Sign of the Times" by Harry Styles

Favorite food: Pizza

Worst thing you’ve eaten: One time my dad made this really disgusting soup, and there was squid in it. 

Plans after high school: I plan to go to college and major in business. I really like working with other people. I feel like business provides many opportunities to do that. You can talk to people and make connections.  

— Compiled by Robert Niedzwiecki

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