Best Foot Forward

Calla Wittland  |  Senior  |  Bennington High School

Running has been in Calla Wittland’s family for generations. “My dad and grandpa both love running, and that is where I got my love for it as well,” she said. “Last year we all got to run in a 5k together, which was such a fun experience to have three generations of my family running in the same race.”

She started running cross country at age eight with the Cornhusker Flyers and then switched to her club team, the Omaha Racers, a year later. During those years she ran at numerous state and regional meets, but the highlight was when she was able to compete at the national level in Lawrence, Kansas, at the Kansas University track at the age of thirteen.

Wittland loves being a part of the Bennington High School cross-country team. “My cross-country team is my family, and we are all super close. We always cheer each other on at meets and practice.” Her team has a funny rule that whenever they pass a dog when they’re running, they have to stop and pet it—even their coach. Wittland is most proud of making it to state three out of four years and medaling fourteenth at state her sophomore year.

As any runner knows, running isn’t without its challenges. “My junior year, I faced a serious injury that took me out of competition for all but two meets. I came back for the district meet and missed going to the state by one place, which was incredibly hard. But this year I was ready to run again and even though I wasn’t able to compete last year, I am excited for this year.”

Bennington cross-country coach Joe Schumm appreciates Wittland’s work ethic. “Over the past four years, Calla has become a very focused individual, always expecting the best from herself and her teammates.  She has had to overcome some injuries in her career, but she used it as a motivation to get better.”

In addition to cross country, she also participates in track and field, varsity cheer, and the school theater program. In the future, she plans to attend a four-year college, majoring in microbiology and pre-med, followed by medical school. “If I am able to run at the college level, I will 100 percent do so.”

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