Cheman joins Hall of Fame
Seneca Valley's 1st 12-letter female being inducted Sept. 13
Butler Eagle
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August 20, 2014

ARLINGTON, Va. — Kristen Cheman admits that awards and accolades were icing on the cake. Camaraderie and a love of competition were the real reasons why she was heavily involved in sports through her college days.

Cheman became the first female to earn 12 varsity letters at Seneca Valley before graduating in 2000, accomplishing the feat in cross country, swimming and track. She will be one of four individuals inducted into the Seneca Valley Sports Hall of Fame Sept. 13.

“I participated in sports because I loved them,” she said. “I can remember competing with some of the best athletes I ever came across at Seneca Valley. To be chosen for the hall of fame is an incredible honor.”

Cheman grew up around sports and it wasn't long before she wanted to join in the fun.

“Athletics were always a family activity,” she said. “My dad, Edward, was a big influence on me when it came to swimming. I asked to start swimming with him at age five. My mom, Ann, was into running and I soon started running with her.”

By the time she reached her teen years, sports were simply part of Cheman's daily routine. She had no second thoughts of taking on a varsity sport in each season during the school year.

“That was my life at the time,” she said. “Having great teammates made it seem like hanging out with friends.”

Several moments stand out.

During the spring of 1999, Cheman teamed with Alexandra Yun, Megan Gilliland and Ruth Mick to break the school record in the 4x800 run. The foursome managed a time of nine minutes, 47.9 seconds.

“As we got closer and closer to the record that year, it became clear that (breaking it) was a goal for us,” Cheman said. “Those were three fantastic girls to train with.”

Specializing in the breaststroke, Cheman helped the Raiders' girls swimming team win the section title her senior year.

“The sports I competed in tend to be thought of as individual sports,” she added, “but I loved competing with my friends.”

Cheman's coaches included Randy Huey (cross country), Tom Donati (swimming) and Wayne Roccia and Ray Peaco (track).

“The thing I remember most about them is their persistence. Whether it was 'work hard' or 'push yourself' or even when to take a day off, they always delivered the same message,” she said.

Cheman went on to compete in all three sports at Allegheny College in Meadville.

“Things were more competitive (in college),” she said, “but I enjoyed running and swimming so much that I never thought of it as a chore.”

Cheman now works for a government consulting firm. She has been able to stay active since college.

“I've competed in 10 marathons, including twice in Boston,” she said. “Improving my time and setting personal goals is something I've always done.”