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Security Federal Athlete of the Week: May 8-14

Partnering with Security Federal, the Warren County Sports Authority will honor a standout local athlete each week. The WCSA and the Friendliest Bank in Town love seeing great athletic achievements and there are plenty to pick from every week in Warren County. From winter to summer, spring to fall, and on courts, fields, diamonds, dance floors and anywhere else an athlete can succeed, Security Federal and the Sports Authority are going to be on the lookout for the best of the best!

WCHS track star Ella Van Vranken

The only thing missing from Ella Van Vranken’s resume as a Lady Pioneer is a state medal. She’ll get another shot at the TSSAA state podium next week in Murfreesboro.

Van Vranken, a sophomore speedster that has been a part of the Lady Pioneer track program the last two years, has done everything possible to set herself up as the best runner in school history. She owns school records in four different events, including the one she qualified for state in last week at sectionals in Cookeville.

Running the 1600 – her best event – Van Vranken finished third at sectionals while rewriting the record books. Her time of 5:11.98 was the best in school history, taking down the mark she set at sectionals last year while qualifying for state as a freshman.

Before Van Vranken laced up her shoes and put on the red, white and blue at WCHS, the 1600 mark had stood for 25 years. In her first meet, she shattered the mark by more than 25 seconds. She’s been chipping away at her personal best ever since.

Van Vranken was just steps behind Nolansville’s top runners, Claire Stegall (5:08.24) and Hayley Stegall (5:10.09), at sectionals. Going into the state event, which will be held next Thursday at MTSU, Claire Stegall holds the fastest 1600 time of any runner in the state this year.

Van Vranken decided to turn her full attention to the 1600 this year, which was the only reason she wasn’t a multi-time qualifier for state last week. She made the state field last year in the 800 and 4x400, but this time she’ll be fresh for her best event.

Van Vranken set two more records during the 2022 season – claiming the top mark in the 3200 and edging Katie Toney in the 400 after the soccer star broke a 20-year-old record last season. Van Vranken is also the fastest Lady Pioneer to ever run the 800, a record she’s set multiple times the last two seasons.

Next week’s race will give Van Vranken her next shot at glory as a Lady Pioneer, but it likely won’t be the last. She’ll have two more years left to submit her resume as one of the school’s greatest athletes.

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