SHS graduate Olivia Howell won the 1500 at the Big Ten Outdoor Championship

Photo courtesy of Olivia Howell.

Photo courtesy of Olivia Howell.

Kassidy Samuelraj, Staff Writer

2019 SHS graduate Olivia Howell placed first in the Women’s 1500 Meters Final at the Big Ten Outdoor Championship with a 4:20.13 time. Olivia also won the mile at the 2023 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Women’s Indoor Track & Field championship with a 4:34.00 time earning her first NCAA championship title.

“Winning a NCAA title was a huge goal for me for a long time,” Olivia said. “Something that I have been working hard at and praying about, so to finally accomplish that goal, I was overwhelmed with so many emotions. It’s still sometimes hard to believe that it happened.”

Photo courtesy of Olivia Howell.

SHS math teacher and girls head cross country coach and assistant track coach Anna Guseilo coached Olivia Howell in track in middle school and four years of high school cross country.

“When she was in middle school, she was probably the smallest person on the track, but height doesn’t equal speed,” Guseilo said. “She was still one of the fastest middle school runners at the time.”

Olivia Howell started her success early. She won her first cross country meet in her freshman year of high school.

“She started off as very successful but got even more competitive and even more elite as the years went on,” Guseilo said.

Olivia Howell holds multiple SHS records including the 2017 Girls Track & Field 5000 meters with a 17:32.5 time, the 1600 meter run with a 4:43.25 time and the 400 meter dash with a 56.36 time. In 2016 Olivia Howell secured the girls distance medley record with Louiza Wise, Hailey Erkkila and Taylor Grant along with the 6400 relay record with Hailey Erkkila, Louiza Wise and Elsa Mabey.

Photo courtesy of Olivia Howell.

“I would say that my success goes to my faith in God,” Olivia Howell said. “My pure enjoyment of the sport and competitive edge are factors as well.”

Olivia Howell was named the Ohio girls track & field Gatorade Player of the Year in 2018-2019 during her senior year.

“Over the years I’ve been blessed with so many people who helped get me to where I am today, including some of the faculty and staff that still work at Solon,” Olivia Howell said.

Olivia’s younger brother James Howell is currently a senior at SHS. James is continuing his career at Loyola University Chicago.

“She has always been an example of the possibilities of my capabilities,” James Howell said. “We both are very competitive with each other. We definitely push each other to reach certain times or standards.”

Photo courtesy of Olivia Howell.

Olivia Howell plans to continue her career on a professional level and continue running the 1500, 800 and 5k in the future.

Her career has helped her gain more knowledge on what an athlete needs to focus on during their high school years.

“My advice to high school athletes primarily is to have fun,” Olivia Howell said. “It’s so easy to let the pressure and stress get to you, but simply reminding yourself of your passion for your sport is what will get you through it. Another, would be to not be afraid of setting high goals for yourself. There have been many moments in my career when I was short of reaching high goals I set for myself, but that just gave me a chance to go back to the drawing board and work harder to get to where I needed to be. With that, patience is key and realizing that failures aren’t setbacks, they are necessary moments to give you the momentum towards success.”