Sewickley Academy athlete of the week: Nella Tsudis

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 | 4:17 PM

Nella Tsudis

School: Sewickley Academy

Sport: Track and field

Class: Senior

Claim to fame: Sewickley Academy’s lone ranked competitor in Thursday’s WPIAL championships is senior Nella Tsudis, who is 14th in the girls 200-meter run and 12th in the 400. Tsudis recently broke her personal records in each event and holds Sewickley Academy’s fastest time (26.97) in the 200.

You’ve recently had some of your best performances. Why do you feel you’re peaking toward the end of your career?

I think it’s partly due to all of the training I’ve done for the last couple years. I’ve developed as a sprinter due to the help of all my coaches. I think a lot of strength and offseason training helped me in the spring, and I’ve learned what’s best for me after trial and error the last few years to find my niche.

You run cross country and were a long-distance runner as a freshman. How did you find yourself running shorter races?

My first experience as a track athlete was as a freshman, and I was in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200, but over time my interests changed. I started hurdling after my freshman year. That was the transition from distance to sprinting. I still did cross country, but it made me realize my interests were elsewhere in track. I think I’m where I’m supposed to be, and my success this year has proven that.

How does training for short distance running compare to long distance running?

Unfortunately, they’re both grueling, so one isn’t easier than the other. I’d say it’s a different mindset. In long distance, you have workouts where you pace yourself. In sprinting, you have to give it everything you have, which has really challenged me. I’m so used to pacing myself. Just my practice today, you have to give it everything to better yourself.

You’ve competed in so many events. What is your favorite?

I’d say the 200 and not because of the record. The 400, I love it. But it’s a very mental race. On that last 100 stretch, it’s mentally and physically draining. I feel like you can kind of let yourself go in the 200, which is where I feel the fastest and really strong.

One of your goals is to qualify for states. What would it mean to you to get into that competition?

It’s something I’ve been working for the past four years. It’s been trial and error for my events. I feel strong in the events I’ll do this year. I’m happy where I am now. I’ll be happy with whatever happens at WPIALs, but for me it’d show me and my teammates it is possible, especially for someone that wasn’t initially a sprinter, that hard work does pay off.

What has been your favorite part of being on this team?

The team culture that we have. We are so small, and our team is very close, even the coaches. Coach Derek Chimner has been coaching me since freshman year. I think I’ll miss knowing where to go after school every day and having a group of people to work out with and push you every day. I’ll definitely miss that.