JNEWS: Stallings, Will [MC2019] Over­comes In­juries to Be­come Cham­pion



Sleepy Hol­low Grad Over­comes In­juries to Be­come Cham­pion Col­lege Run­ner
by Tom Pedulla 

When Joe Ryan re­cruits stu­dent-ath­letes for the track and field team at Man­hat­tan Col­lege, he of­ten searches for di­a­monds in the rough. He sure found one in Will Stallings of Sleepy Hol­low. “If you have a fair amount of tal­ent and you’ve got char­ac­ter, you can go a long, long way,” Ryan said of his ap­proach.

Al­though Stallings was not highly sought af­ter while he at­tended Sleepy Hol­low High School, strength of char­ac­ter even­tu­ally led him to over­come two ca­reer-threat­en­ing hip surg­eries to be­come the Metro At­lantic Ath­letic Con­fer­ence’s 400-me­ter out­door cham­pion this spring as a se­nior. In ad­di­tion, he was part of Man­hat­tan’s bronze-medal-win­ning 4×400 re­lay team and took fourth at 200 me­ters.

He has con­sis­tently been a mem­ber of the con­fer­ence’s All-Aca­d­e­mic team. His out­stand­ing ac­com­plish­ments in the class­room will al­low him to at­tend med­ical school. The 6’ 1” Stallings im­me­di­ately jus­ti­fied Ryan’s con­fi­dence as a fresh­man when his time of 46.5 sec­onds at 400 me­ters al­lowed him to rank 19th na­tion­ally. He suf­fered two torn hip labrums when he was a sopho­more that ul­ti­mately re­quired surgery and placed his ath­letic fu­ture in doubt.

“There were some dark days,” Stallings said, “where I re­ally thought I was­n’t go­ing to come back.”

He now refers to the in­juries as a “bless­ing in dis­guise” be­cause they led him to re­al­ize the im­por­tance of his stud­ies. “Once the in­jury came around,” he said, “it was like, ‘Okay, what do I have left? What else do I have that I can con­trol in my life? How else am I go­ing to suc­ceed and be the best per­son I can be?’ And it was aca­d­e­mics.”

He ma­jored in ki­ne­si­ol­ogy with a dou­ble mi­nor in chem­istry and bi­ol­ogy. He praised Man­hat­tan’s small-school at­mos­phere, say­ing he ben­e­fited tremen­dously from the in­di­vid­ual at­ten­tion his pro­fes­sors gave him.

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Stallings, Will [MC2019]

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