By Rob Kiser
Miami Valley Today
TOLEDO — Former Covington state champion Rayna Horner has always prided herself in being a student athlete.
And that hasn’t changed at the college level.
Horner, the daughter of Dave and Kami Horner, is a sophomore on the University of Toledo track and field team and was recently one of three Rockets to receive the Mid-American Conference Distinguished Scholar Athlete Award for the winter sports season.
“I wasn’t expecting this at all,” Horner said. “I consider it a tremendous honor and really appreciative of the MAC honoring me in this way.”
To be recognized, an athlete has to be first-team all MAC in their respective sport and maintain at least a 3.50 GPA.
Horner capped her season in indoor track by combining with Meltem Year, Semra Karasian and Petronela Simiuc to win the Distance Medley Relay in 11:38.11at the MAC meet to earn All-MAC honors.
In the classroom, she has a 3.774 GPA while majoring in Pre-Social Work/
“I am a student first,” Horner said. “My parents always emphasized that when I was growing up. It is something I have always taken pride in.”
She admits it is a bigger challenge at the college life.
“It can be difficult with our schedule (as an athlete) and the traveling we do during the season,” she said. “You have to crack down a little more.”
The corona virus has added to that challenge, both on and off the track.
“On-line classes do you give you more freedom,” she said. “But, there are some classes that are more difficult to take on-line. There are some classes that I specifically took in the classroom, because I knew they would be more difficult to do online.”
As for track, Horner has competed in the seventh grade and hopes she never has another spring like this one.
“If you had told me one day we would have our outdoor track season cancelled by a virus, I never would have believed it,” Horner said. “I would never have imagined going through anything like this.”
Horner, back home, has alternated between weigh training and running during the time off.
“I try to do it every other day,” Horner said. “I don’t want to do overdo it. My next competition isn’t until January. So, there is plenty of time to get ready for it.”
The coaches have stayed in contact with the athletes.
“We have a meeting on zoom every week,” she said. “It is not so much about our training. It is just checking with us to see how everything is going and how we are doing mentally (with all this).”
Horner hopes to get to see some of her teammates soon.
“I am hoping to go back to Toledo and run with some of my teammates when we can,” Horner said. “I miss my teammates and the time we spent together. I am just hoping by fall, we can get back to training together and school starts again on time, like normal.”
And regardless, Horner will continue to be the definition of student-athlete, shining in the classroom and on the track.
Contact Rob Kiser at [email protected].
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