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.
# – # – # – # – #
Stallings, Will [MC2019]
# – # – # – # – # 2019-Jun-03 @ 17:40