Adversity can't slow Shaler grad Bagwell at Slippery Rock

Jerry Clark
| Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Difficulty seems to bring out the best in Slippery Rock sophomore runner Angelica Bagwell.

Having missed much of her freshman season due to injury, Bagwell, a Shaler graduate, had to focus and work like never before to achieve in her new major of psychology as well as on the track.

For all her effort, Bagwell was honored with the title of All-Academic from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.

“This year was more difficult because it was my first full year of competing (while being in college), I switched majors (to psychology), and I was getting up at 3 or 4 a.m. to drive to New Castle for therapy on my foot,” Bagwell said.

To help the change of major, Bagwell made a great deal of effort to get to know her professors by joining two research teams.

To help her plantar fasciitis, she often got up before the sun rose so she could get to and from her therapy sessions and be at class on time. After class it was on to practice, and then it was homework time.

“It was definitely worth (all the extra work it took to compete),” Bagwell said. “I never thought the All-Academic would be possible, but it is a good feeling to finally be in a good place in school and doing what I love to do.”

Her situation is remarkable, as is her event — the 3,000-meter steeplechase, which includes barriers placed along the course athletes have to jump over.

“The event was new to me,” Bagwell said. “When we trained and ran, my teammates would run around (things in the way like sewer grates), where I would just jump over them. I was never a distance runner, so I didn't have any idea what I was doing.”

Despite not being sure of what to expect, Bagwell got encouragement from teammates who were familiar with the event. She hit the provisional mark (11 minutes, 11 seconds) and although she struggled with her foot and didn't improve on that time, she continued to push through it.

“I struggled because my training was on a bike or in the water which made it hard to improve,” she said. “There is just a constant pain in my foot, but regardless of weather it heals or not, I will run through it. I have not recorded many land miles, but I will push through it.”

Often after a race, Bagwell can't even walk on her injured foot, but she will not give up her event, one she said came pretty naturally.

Bagwell is set to begin her junior year at Slippery Rock and is working to maintain the high standard she has set for herself.

Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total media. Reach him at 724-779-6979 or

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