“I think she’s the best captain anyone could have on any team,” sophomore Elaina Cancello said of her teammate and captain Chantalle Blundell. Cancello also added that Blundell has “the right combination of a positive attitude and the drive to get work done”.
In her short two year career as a Spartan, Blundell has proven herself to be one of UT’s best runners. As a sophomore, she was named Sunshine State Conference (SSC) runner of the week, and finished up her season with five top 10 finishes overall. During her junior year, Blundell has already made some major accomplishments–including being part of a school record breaking relay team at the first meet of the season in the distance medley relay (DMR), qualifying for Raleigh Relays in the 5K and winning her heat and setting a personal record there with a time of 17:40.
However, despite already having achieved such a successful college career, Blundell has even bigger dreams of qualifying for Nationals in her favorite event the 5K.
“She’s one of the best leaders I’ve ever had if not the best, because she’s very mature, and very dedicated to the team and school,” said women’s head track coach Jarrett Slaven said. Blundell is one of those “rare types of athletes that possess both good leadership qualities and are able to motivate the rest of the team, which is one of the reasons she was named captain of the team this year. When Blundell came to UT she made an immediate impact and was one of my best runners,” Slaven said.
Before embarking on her track career, Blundell had different dreams of playing basketball at the collegiate level until her junior year of high school, when she broke her collarbone midseason. It was not until her brother introduced her to track that she really began running at the competitive level.
“I still remember my first day of cross country practice, we went out there and ran probably about four miles, and I came home and said mom I’m not doing this,” Blundell said. “But it’s funny how things change.”
Blundell’s personal influences and what has kept her motivated throughout her college career is her brother and twin sister, they are her two biggest supporters.
Her brother helped introduce her to track and anytime she is nervous or needs someone to talk to, her sister is always there for her.
Blundell has proven she is worthy of being captain by her focus and dedication, as well as her love for her teammates. At the meets Blundell is constantly trying to help encourage her teammates and push them towards their goals.
Her love for the team goes even beyond practice, with her teammates slowly becoming her best friends here on campus. “We hang out a lot and do everything together,” Cancello said.
Blundell is now preparing for her next big meet at North Florida, to compete in the 5K and hopefully qualify for nationals.
Competing at the collegiate level for three years has taught Blundell so much and has helped prepare her for what lies ahead.
Melissa Torre can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org