Mustang’s Rachel Hamel & Tristen Plumlee – OKC Fans Choice Track Poll Winners – Presented by Harley-Davidson World

VYPE: How long have you competed in track, and what first got you interested in the sport?

Hamel: I have been running since my 8th grade year. I used to be a competitive gymnast for most of my life until I decided that it wasn’t the right fit for me. After that, I knew I wanted to still be an athlete but I didn’t know what sport to do. I plugged myself into cross country which lead me to track and I ended up falling in love with running. 

Plumlee: I’ve competed in track since the 7th grade. Running was always something I loved to do. I grew up with a bigger brother and younger brothers so we’d always run and race. I loved it. When I heard my teacher announce that there was going to be track tryouts, I jumped on the opportunity.

VYPE: What events do you compete in?

Hamel: I run the 100m hurdles and the 300m hurdles predominantly. But, I also run the 4×2, 4×4, open sprints and also compete jumps when I can. 

Plumlee: I compete in the 400 meter dash, and the 800 meter run.

VYPE: Do you have a favorite event to compete in? Why?

Hamel: The 100m hurdles is definitely what I love the most. There is a special place in my heart for that race. It’s very much a mental race but it is very exciting to run in and gets my adrenaline pumping every time. 

Plumlee: I love the 400, that would definitely be my favorite race because of the heart and guts you have to have to run that race. That race takes a lot of dedication and hard work and it’s such a thrilling race.

VYPE: How would you describe this season? Any standout moments? 

Hamel: This season was kind of a mix of things. I struggled to fight some injuries throughout the season, but luckily I stayed healthy enough to keep up my training and still compete in the bigger races. What stands out in my mind the most about this season  though is mostly just being able to comeback this year and achieve my goals that I had set, such as winning state. Having hard work pay off is one of the best feelings. 

Plumlee: This season wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to do better but I’m not totally disappointed. My standout moment was probably conference track meet. I won the 400 and 800 and PR’d in both. And it was also my first time running the open 800m that season. 

VYPE: What is your favorite thing about being a student-athlete at Mustang?

Hamel: I truly have loved running under the coaches that I have ran for. They have all been very caring and have really helped me to better myself. The impact that a good coach can have is tremendous, and I have been blessed to have countless great ones throughout my years at Mustang. 

Plumlee: The support. Mustang’s community and students are amazing. They give so much support and love to us athletes. It’s a thrill competing for them.

VYPE: What is something people may not know about track & field?

Hamel: Most people think that all you do in track is just get out there and run, but there is a lot more to it than that. Running involves a lot of strategy. You are constantly thinking while you race and strategizing the best way to get yourself to the line before everyone else. 

Plumlee: I don’t think people realize the dedication and hard work us track athletes put into the sport, like on race days where we eat certain thing to maintain our stomach. Track takes a lot of dedication.

VYPE: What motivates you to strive for the best in your sport?

Hamel: A strong motivator for me this year was how my season ended last year. I did not come out on top like I wanted to my junior year, but it fueled my fire to make it happen this year. 

Plumlee: My motivation to being the best is my fear of not being my best. My fear of failing. Those two things motivate me to the best of my abilities; I’m very competitive and I love track so I want to strive to be the best.

VYPE: What are your plans for the future?

Hamel: Next year I will be attending The University of Tulsa and will be running there as I study. I plan to earn my degree in nursing and a minor in Spanish. 

Plumlee: I want to run at the next level, it’s always been a dream of mine since freshman year when track got serious. I love it and I wanna do it at the next level and compete with the best.