Nothing could stop Izzy Trenholm ’17 from being a part of the cross country team—not broken bones, nor asthma. Her running career began with spring track at John Witherspoon Middle School in eighth grade. She just wanted to try a sport, so she attended practice, not knowing she would devote all four years in high school to running three seasons for cross country, winter track, and spring track.As a freshman, Trenholm had demonstrated natural talent and started on the varsity girls cross country team.
“When she came in, she was an unknown for us. She showed a lot of initial talent, but didn’t know the sport that well,” said Head Coach James Smirk. “Now she’s grown into a very competitive runner … but also a leader.”
Even as a freshman, her enthusiasm in supporting her team was unmatched. When was she forced to sit out of the Mercer County Championship race after breaking her arm, she was still up and cheering for her teammates the whole time.
“She was one of the most enthusiastic cheerers I’ve ever seen … it was really upsetting to see her injured, but she was still just such a positive role model on the team, even as a freshman,” said Annie Walker ’17, who has run with Trenholm all four years.
Trenholm demonstrated her commitment and perseverance to the sport despite having asthma, which began to affect her running her sophomore year. She would get asthma attacks during practices and at meets.
“It can be frustrating to train hard and have it act up during the race,” Trenholm said. “It’s made me tougher. I’ve learned to deal with that, and it’s helped me deal with other aspects of running when it gets hard.”
“There have been a lot of races where … you hear [her] breathing [change],” said Chloe Taylor ’18, Trenholm’s running partner. “It’s hard for her, but watching her come back and race really well … It’s inspiring.”
“She is the definition of ‘tiger tough’. Asthma is a huge obstacle for running … [but] I’ve never seen her drop out of a race … which is just insane,” Walker said. “I don’t even know how she finishes races the way she does—it’s incredible to watch her [cross] at the line. I don’t think it’s ever going to get in her way. Nothing seems to stop her.”
While asthma affects Trenholm’s racing, it does not define her running career. In fact, Trenholm has finished in 16th place at the NJSIAA Sectionals for Central Jersey Group 4, was one of seven girls on her team that qualified to the Meet of Champions her sophomore year, and has a 5k personal record of 19 minutes and 29 seconds. By overcoming her limitations, she has also set a positive example for her team.
“Unlike others, she keeps doing [the] sport that keeps giving her asthma. She hasn’t let that affect her … A lot of us tried to find excuses when we’re hurting or just not feeling well … [and] just not do [the workout],” Annefleur Hartmanshenn ’17, a fellow runner said. “But we remember that … if Izzy can do it and she can’t even breathe, why can’t we?”
“She makes our team better,” Smirk said. “Not just by being a great runner, but by virtue of who she is.”