Kahhan on the fast track to success at Ryan

The three-sport athlete broke the school record in the 800-meter race. She’s eyeing more medals and more records as her season winds down.

In the lead: Brittany Kahhan is happy to be the leader of the Ragdolls team, and she’s happy with the team’s progress and work ethic. SUPPLIED PHOTO

In many ways, it was her typical race.

But when Brittany Kahhan ran the 800-meter race at Lehigh University three weeks ago, it was anything but normal.

Kahhan, a senior at Archbishop Ryan High School, broke the 10-year school record for the event, finishing the race in 2:27.85.

The previous record was held by Caitlin Blaney.

“My biggest goal, well one of them, was to break a school record because I’ve always looked up to the people who ran here,” Kahhan said. “I knew I was getting closer and closer, but when I (crossed the finish line) I looked over at my coach (Mike Leonard), and he gave me a thumbs up. I then went off to the side and threw up. I put a lot of pressure on myself, but I was fine. That happens to a lot of runners.”

Once she caught her breath, the celebration began.

Kahhan, who has been on the team for four years, was surrounded by teammates who wanted to celebrate the achievement of their team captain.

“It felt really good because everyone was going crazy,” Kahhan said.

“It’s not just my record, it’s all of our records. They helped me get it, when you’re running, you’re not running against your opponents, you’re running against yourself, so we always try to help each other and make sure we’re all getting better.”

Kahhan runs all year, and participates in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track.

She’s a strong runner in cross country, but she takes part in that sport mostly to get in shape for track.

In track, she runs middle distance and last year she started working with All-Catholic thrower Megan Kirn, and she learned to throw the javelin.

This year, she plans on working in all the events to make the Ragdolls’ track team better.

And while she plans on working to make herself better, her hope is to help make those around her better.

“I remember when I was a freshman, I looked up to a runner, Taylor Woods,” Kahhan said.

“I always wanted to get to where she was, so I worked. I really hope other girls can look to me and see what I’m doing and try to get there. But they’re really good runners, too.

“In running, you try to set a goal and then accomplish it. I really wanted to break a school record, but I also want to break my record and break a record in the outdoor season. I still have a lot of goals I want to accomplish.

“Running is, I think, 90 percent mental. Everybody who runs is in great shape because they train, but the biggest thing is making sure you’re mentally strong enough to get through it and reach your goals.”

Her fast times make her an asset as a runner, but that’s not the only thing she brings to the Ragdolls.

“Brittany has so much energy and enthusiasm that it rubs off on all of the other ladies,” Leonard said. “As coaches, we lean on her leadership abilities a lot. Simply put, she’s the heart of our team, and it’s a pretty big heart.”

Kahhan performs well off the track, too.

She’s ranked in the top 10 percent of her senior class and is a member of the National Honor Society and the English National Honor Society.

Next year, she hopes to run in college, while studying business or marketing.

But the Somerton resident is not quite there yet.

She still is enjoying her days as a Ragdoll.

“The four years go so fast, I think because I’m having so much fun being around the team,” Kahhan said. “Track is really my life, and I love doing it, it’s my passion. To break a school record is a great accomplishment, it lets me know all the hard work I’m putting in is paying off. But I’m having so much fun, it’s hard work, but it is a lot of fun.”

And while her teammates have her back, Kahhan is also happy to have a great family in her corner.

“I live with my aunt and uncle because my parents died when I was younger,” Kahhan said. “I’m lucky because I have one real sister, and I have my cousins who are exactly like my siblings, they are really supportive.

“They’re all great athletes, too. I’m the youngest of five and they’re all great athletes. I might be the fastest, but they’re better at a lot of sports. And they’re really supportive. They were happy for me, too, when I broke the record.” ••