Everyday Champion - Abby Chesimet

Feb. 4, 2010

Running may have been in her blood, but when junior cross country and track student-athlete Abby Chesimet moved to the United States from Kenya in 2004, that was never in her plan. 'I never thought I'd run at all. I never ran when I was in Kenya; I didn't like running at all.' Her dad, Kemboi, came to the United States in 1990 to run for Southern Louisiana with his best 800 meters time being 1:46.


But after moving to Astoria, Ore., as a junior in high school, her father talked her into running, and she's been running ever since. Chesimet has emerged as one of the top three runners in cross country. And she currently holds the fifth fastest indoor mile time, set last weekend and the second fastest indoor 3,000 meters time. In outdoor track she's 10th in the 3,000 meters, second for the two-miles and seventh for the 5,000 meters.


Read more about Abby below...


Q: Why did you choose exercise and sport science as your major?

A: 'I chose exercise and sport science as my major because being around running and what the body does and the mechanics got me interested and just how the body when you're running and what's going when you're in motion was fascinating to me so I decided to pursue a career in that.'


Q: What do you plan to do with your degree?

A: 'After college I plan to go to graduate school. Originally I was going to go to [physical therapy] school, but now I think I'm going to go to nursing school. I chose to go into nursing because there are so many things you can do with nursing, so I think I'm going to do that when I graduate.'


Q: What was the transition like moving to the United States from Kenya?

A: 'The transition from moving to Kenya to here was pretty hard. It took me a while to get used to the environment, the weather, the people. Back in Kenya people are pretty laid back, but here everyone is on schedule. But it helped too that I had my family here, too, so that made a big difference. I was able to transition, not easily, but it didn't take me a long time. My family helped a great deal and also going to school and making new friends.'


Q: What is there in Kenya that you don't have here?

A: 'Everything is a little different. I miss the Kenyan food a lot, so that would be one thing that's there but not here. Some of my family, too. I kind of miss that. I do have my family, but I used to have other families that I grew up with. The whole culture thing is different, and I miss that a lot.'


Q: Did you always plan on running after your dad came here to run?

A: 'No, when my dad came here I never thought I'd run at all. I never ran when I was in Kenya; I didn't like running at all. My first semester at school, I didn't run. But the following semester, my dad was a coach, so he kind of had me go with his team, then the next time he wanted me to dress up and so one day I started running maybe a mile with the team. And the next thing I knew, I was enjoying it. And so I kind of got into it.'


Q: What's your favorite thing about Oregon State?

A: 'My favorite thing about Oregon State is just the people. My teammates are made up of a great group of girls, and that's a really big thing. It's just a family environment and like a family. It makes you feel at home. I just love that. I love the coaches and staff - all of them I think are great to be around. They make my being in school easier and running in general and life. And the education is great; it's a great place to be.'


Q: What's it like to run for Kelly Sullivan?

A: 'It's been a great experience. I couldn't imagine running at another place. He's a great coach and person. He just makes you feel important. He's not a just a coach, he's a great friend. He's a great person to be around. He makes running easier, and he's not just about running. He makes sure you know life isn't just about running and just cares about you as a person. I love that about him. I think that's part of the reason I came here because he made feel at home when I came here. It's awesome.'


Q: Who has been your biggest role model?

A: 'My biggest role model would be my family. Just their love and support that they've shown me has been awesome.'


Q: What would you say is your favorite race?

A: 'My favorite race would be cross country. Running this last season at Pre-Nationals, I think that was my favorite race. Not just because I did well, but because I liked the course and the feeling was incredible. Running with incredible girls was a great experience.'


Q: What would you tell recruits about Oregon State and the track program?

A: 'One thing I would tell recruits about OSU is that it's a great environment and great place to go as far as education and running. I think the coaches and the staff and the people - the athletic department in general - they give you great support and I think it's awesome to have as far as being a student-athlete.'


Q: Have you had a chance to go back to back to Kenya?

A: 'I haven't been able to go back because I think I've just been busy with school, but I definitely want to go back, maybe after college. I miss the people there, and I still have a lot of family there. I'm definitely going back after college.'

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