Overcoming mono just part of Vogel’s grand plan

Inspiring acts and people have a way of following Meghan Vogel.

Last year at the Division III state track and field meet Vogel won the 1,600 meters. Then she made national headlines for helping a fallen runner to the finish line in the 3,200.

Vogel’s act led her to the National Sportsmanship Awards ceremony in St. Louis where she met Rashawn King. He plays basketball at North Carolina Central University and suffers from leukemia.

Vogel, a West Liberty-Salem High School senior, wants to win 1,600 again, but her quest needed a shot of inspiration when she was diagnosed with mononucleosis on May 2.

“I always think about that if he can play basketball with leukemia then I can run with mono,” said Vogel, who keeps in contact with King on Twitter.

Vogel didn’t stop running following the mono news. Ann Vogel, her coach and mom, scaled back the workout regimen, and Meghan has responded well. She was up at 7:30 this past Saturday morning and ran her first complete distance workout this month.

“The longer she went, the better she got,” Ann Vogel said. “Before when she’s been healthy she gets better as she goes on, so it was good to see that.”

Vogel’s best time this season is 5:17.93 at last week’s Ohio Heritage Conference meet. She ran 4:58.31 at state last year, a personal best by 10 seconds. She has three weeks to get to that level. And she will probably have to run that time or better to repeat. Alexandra Markovich, a senior at Gates Mills Hawken, ran 4:58.65 last week. Vogel’s OHC time is the seventh best in the state.

Vogel’s quest begins Wednesday on the first day of the district meet at Milton-Union. She will run in the 4x800 relay final and preliminary heats in the 4x400 relay and 800. She has the 12th best time in the state in the 800. The Tigers have a legitimate shot at making state in all four relays. On Saturday, she will run the finals in the 1,600, 800 and 4x400 relay.

“If I get beat in districts or regionals, I’m OK with that,” said Vogel, who was second at both meets last year. “State is all that matters to me right now. I’m definitely going to work to defend my title. It’s something I’ve been working for. I’m not going to let a little mono set me back.”

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