Natalie Pleban’s competitive edge creates path to return to state meet – Morning Journal


If you ask any senior in any , every wants to end their career on a high note.

That rings true for Amherst senior Natalie Pleban.

Pleban had a strong junior season, qualifying for the Division I state meet in the 100 hurdles. She’s on a quest to return to state as her career winds down.

“I’m just putting in everything I have,” Pleban said. “It’s my senior season, so I just got to have a sense of urgency. Everything is the last time. I just have to give everything that I have.”

While some athletes put a lot of time into indoor season, Pleban was on the basketball court. It has taken some adjusting from diving for loose balls to leaping over hurdles, but the competitive edge remains.

The work ethic that it took to become a state qualifier is in full force early to get where she needs to have success this spring.

“It definitely is a little tough coming off of a different ,” Pleban said. “People that ran indoor might have a little bit of an advantage over me right now, but that just means I need to work even harder.”

Pleban made the that she wanted to in the postseason. On the home in back-to-back weeks, Pleban finished second in the district meet with a time of 15.07 seconds and third in regionals at 15.04. It culminated in a 15th-place finish at the state meet.

“She’s a competitor, she’s got great intrinsic motivation,” Amherst coach Rob Glatz said. “She likes to win and I love that about her. Watching her play basketball or watching her in high jump, long jump or hurdles, she’s very competitive and aggressive. I love that about her.”

All of her goals in hurdles were accomplished, but they didn’t come as easy as hoped for. In the closing stretch of the regular season, Pleban broke her wrist in a freak accident. She wasn’t able to stop in time after a false start and went over a hurdle and hit the ground hard.

Despite the wrist injury working against her, Pleban made it to Columbus and just finished one spot away from qualifying for regionals in high jump.

“Initially, it took the most toll on my mental health,” Pleban said. “I didn’t know if I was going to be able to again last season, but luckily I was able to get back out there again. … It was bittersweet because it was definitely upsetting that I missed out on it. But just knowing that I’m capable of those kinds of things and capable of competing with the best gives me the confidence to go out there and do it again.”

All of the highs and lows for Pleban have built up to this moment. She has a chance to leave a legacy in the last hurrah.

The biggest goal of course is return to the state meet, this time in Dayton. A couple of others include breaking 15 seconds in the 100 hurdles and gunning for the school record.

Motivation isn’t something that needs to be instilled into Pleban. The competitive edge is fierce. She’s going to enjoy wearing the Amherst uniform and being a part of the program while she can.

“It’s super great, I really love this program,” Pleban said. “There’s a lot of positivity and everybody just comes together as a team and supports each other. It’s really nice to be a part of.”



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