Out-lapping success: Olivia Howell, SHS Track Legend


Olivia Howell committed to University of Illinois for track on Signing Day. Photo courtesy of her instagram.

Peter Iskandar, Contributing Writer

Naturally, people seek a thrill in amusement parks, extreme sports or even scary movies, but for Solon High School (SHS) senior and track star Olivia Howell, running is her thrill. Olivia Howell is a part of the Cross Country and Lady Comets Track & Field team at SHS. As a freshman, Howell ran in both Cross Country and Track and Field – she loved it. When it comes to running, she has built herself a winning reputation.

“I was State Champ in the  mile for 4 years for both indoor and outdoor, and sophomore year I ran the 800-meter dash in the International Children’s Games and won with a time of 2:17,” Howell said.

Howell’s interest in track began when she realized that running was her favorite part when participating in other sports.

“My cousin also ran so they got me into track as well,” Howell said.

Since then, Howell has always pushed herself to achieve the best. In fact, in Winter of 2019, Howell was granted the title of “Best High School Female Athlete in Cleveland,” an extremely prestigious achievement for an athlete to receive.

“They compare you to all sports in Cleveland, not just track,” Howell said.

An athlete has to be really skilled at what they do to receive such a prestigious award.

“[Howell] is a second and a half away from the state mile record which was set by a two-time Olympian, so for a comparison that’s how good she is,” said Nicole Geiger, SHS Girls Track & Field Coach. “I could very easily talk about how great she is for the next 15 minutes if I wanted to, but there are some very talented girls on the team and she never wants the spotlight on her. She’s very proud of how she does, but she’s always pushing others to find the same success, both her teammates and her friends.”

When it comes to running it’s not just sheer physical strength, Howell makes sure that each step counts.

“She is and has always been beyond her years. She knows when to kick it up to the next gear and when to be smart,” said Geiger.

Olivia isn’t only a great racer but a great teammate as well.

“She can win if it helps the team.” said Geiger, “She’ll be more than willing to do something that helps the team. She is selfless, easy to get along with, very well liked by everybody and that’s rare for somebody so good to be that down to earth.” said Geiger.

Her teammate shares the same thoughts on Howell’s team sportliness.

“I remember running track my freshman and sophomore year, and I’d see her in the locker rooms and it looked like she was ready to run every time we went out to practice,” said SHS Senior and past teammate of Howell, Vanity Petgrave. “Even though she was the best, she made us feel as if we could be, too.”

Running track and cross country for a little over seven years now, Howell has perfected her skill. However, she doesn’t plan on stopping there. Recently, Howell signed to the University of Illinois to continue her running career in college.

“I believe that as successful as she is in running, she will be in everything else she hopes to accomplish,” said Kayla Wise, cousin to Howell.

She has a great personality off the track, too.

“As a person she is a great combination of passion, humor, drive and quirkiness.” said Geiger. “I think it just boils down to the conclusion that she is a really great person. She is a once in a lifetime athlete.”