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Honeyman’s hard work with Blue Hawks track and field leads to nationals

Abby Honeyman isn't one to do something without working at it.As a high school athlete at Mott-Regent, Honeyman had to put the time in to become a better track and field athlete.Honeyman just wishes she could tell her past self that the work was ...

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Dickinson State’s Abby Honeyman runs the 100-meter hurdles at the DSU Tune-Up Meet on May 6 at the Biesiot Activities Center. Honeyman automatically qualified for nationals with a time of 14.47 seconds. (Press Photo by Colton Pool)

Abby Honeyman isn’t one to do something without working at it.
As a high school athlete at Mott-Regent, Honeyman had to put the time in to become a better track and field athlete.
Honeyman just wishes she could tell her past self that the work was worth it.
The Dickinson State sophomore competes in her second NAIA national track and field meet this week in Gulf Shores, Ala., and is seeded on the verge of being an all-American in the 100-meter hurdles.
“I can reach out and grab it,” she said. “It’s pretty unreal.”
Also representing DSU at the national meet will be Jose Chorro in the 110-meter hurdles, Tommy Sease in the decathlon, Jay Liggins in the long jump, Beau Ackerman in the javelin, Paitton Herbst in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Whitney Leuenberger in the shot put, Alysse Charlesworth in the triple jump, and Eddie Meneses, Margaret Martinez and Brittney Grove in the marathon.
Honeyman hit the automatic A standard for national qualification in DSU’s Tune-Up Meet on May 6 at the Biesiot Activities Center in 14.47 seconds - and felt relieved because she has been close before.
“She’s really been driven at her own goals and coming back and doing better than what she did last year at the national championships,” DSU head coach Chris Creal said. “She’s really put the work together and got the mechanics down which made her as strong as she is so she can walk away with all-American status.”
Honeyman was 29th in the national preliminaries last year with a time of 15.23 seconds, but she’s bound to make better on that time.
“Last year I was a little caught off guard that I was at nationals, and I didn’t feel ready,” Honeyman said. “Now I’m a little more ready and feel like I deserve to be here. It’s very rewarding that all of the hard work we put in pays off and we can keep going after the regular season ends.”

Honeyman has set out to improve on that performance. Creal has seen it.
“It gives her a fire going into these championships. You can just see it in her eyes when she’s training,” Creal said. “You can just see it in the way she carries herself when she trains. You love it when kids do that. That means they’re going to do what it takes to meet the expectations they have for themselves.”
Creal added that Honeyman has become better and better as the season has gone on. He said Honeyman leads by example - a trait that influences the whole team.
“She’s one of the most valuable kids on the team. She’s very willing to do what it takes to make the team succeed and do well,” Creal said. “When it comes to the conference meet, she was willing to do multiple events to help the team’s score as many points as possible. She’s very team-orientated for us trying to accomplish goals and be successful as a program. She’s a leader by example and is willing to put herself forward to make us successful.”
And she’s just a sophomore, making Chorro think Honeyman will become an incredible hurdler over the next two years.
“Abby is the athlete you wish you could have 100 of on a team,” DSU undergraduate assistant coach Stormie Sickler said. “She’s a dedicated and hard worker. She puts her heart and soul into it. … When I get to the point of coaching a college or high school team, if I’m blessed with that opportunity, I can only hope to have a couple Abbys on the team to show what hard work is and how to get through adversity.”
As a training partner, Chorro has seen Honeyman provide positive vibes for the entire team and added that even during practice, Honeyman makes everyone around her happier. Nonetheless, she’s a competitor, Chorro said, and she hasn’t backed down from a challenge yet.
“She’s a very humble athlete. She works hard for what she wants,” Chorro said. “It’s great working with her.”
Sickler said Honeyman has come from a giant support system, which has helped her deal with multiple injuries in her career. Honeyman’s mental toughness, Sickler said, has enabled her to develop.
“I think her mental strength has gotten her to where she is now,” Sickler said. “It’s not easy to be a hurdler. She’s gone through injuries her whole track career, even in high school, and she’s had to get through it.”
But her self-motivation, which she said comes from the support of her family and friends growing up, has helped her continue development.
“Growing up on a ranch, you experience the ethic of hard work. Sports has always been a huge part of my life,” Honeyman said. “Every chance you could be in sport, you were. That had a huge part of it. It’s just something that I did because everyone else was. My upbringing has a huge part of it.”
The former Mott-Regent standout said her parents and Wildfire track and field coach Ron Benson made her want to pursue the sport after high school graduation. She sought to make them proud.
She chose to be a Blue Hawk because she wanted to stay close to home for college track and be in a program in which she could better herself. Now she can’t imagine a life without the sport.
“College track changed my life completely,” Honeyman said. “My whole life revolves around it. You can’t go a day or plan an evening without looking at your track schedule. Track is my life, and it’s made my life better. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Honeyman said she was seeded 10th in the 100 hurdles, but only the top nine go to the final heat, so making that race is her overall goal.
And even if Honeyman doesn’t live up to her own expectations, she can live with knowing that she’s a two-time national qualifier as an underclassman.
“I think I put a little too much pressure on myself,” Honeyman said. “I’m just thankful that I’ve been able to experience this twice in a row. It’s pretty special. Win or lose, I’m still going at a national level. I think I’ll take that.”

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