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NEED FOR SPEED: Growing Up With Two Older Brothers, Keystone’s Abbi Sell Had to Be Fast, and It Has Aided Her on the Track

KNOX, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Growing up with two older brothers, Abbi Sell had to be fast.

Or get left behind.

“It definitely pushes you,” Sell said, chuckling. “I have a kind of competitive family.”

And a successful one, athletically.

Her eldest brother, Logan, was a three-sport standout at Keystone. Her other brother, Aidan, starred on the football field and the basketball court for the Panthers.

Now Abbi, a junior at Keystone, is making her own name on the track at the school.

Abbi Sell is second in the track and field record book for the Panthers in the 100- and 200-meter dash. She teamed with Alison Sterner, Ava Patrick and Ashlee Albright last season to set the school record in the 4×100-meter relay with a time of 52.2 seconds.

She wants all three marks by the time she graduates.

Sell has always been blessed with speed.

“I guess,” she said, chuckling again. “God-given talent, I guess.

“In the sixth grade we had one track meet, and it was just for fun,” Sell added. “I ran the 100 and 200 and the relay. Our relay team beat the record. I’ve always just thought about doing those events and that carried over into the ninth grade.”

Sell said she has always had a passion for running — but not too far.

She runs a leg of the 4×400-meter relay as well for Keystone and 400 meters definitely challenges her.

“I don’t have a lot of endurance,” Sell said. “I like those shorter races.”

Like a rocket burning quickly through its fuel.

She’s also working on her ignition.

Sell is doing whatever she can to get out of the blocks just a little quicker to shave those precious tenths of a second off her time.

To do that, she’s enlisted the aid of Terrie Shaw, who works a lot with the boys sprinters, but is also helping train Sell.

“We’ve never had a sprinting coach or someone to work with us in the blocks,” Sell said. “But we have a coach who is working with me this year and she worked a little bit with me at the end of last year, so I’m hoping that I can take some time off in the blocks.”

That may help her vault into the top spot in the 100 and 200 before long.

Those records belong to Samantha Schwabenbauer, who ran a time of 12.64 in the 100 and finished the 200 in 26.43 seconds.

Sell’s best times are 13.04 and 27.08 — certainly within striking distance of those records that have stood since 2009.

Sell is also hoping the 4×1 relay can shave even more time off that school record and reach the PIAA Track and Field Championships this season.

Last year that relay came painfully short, placing third at the District 9 championship and just a little more than a second off the state qualifying standard.

Jillian Winters also ran as a part of that relay, helping them finish the regular season undefeated in dual meets.

This year, Sell is running the anchor leg of that relay.

“I get that adrenaline rush from being the last leg,” Sell said. “That’s what I enjoy most.”

What Sell isn’t enjoying is the weather.

Keystone ran against Karns City in brutal conditions on Wednesday in the rain, some snow flurries, and wind.

Still, Sell won the 200 and ran legs on the winning 4×1 and 4×4 relays. She was also second in the 100. Karns City won the meet, however, 110-49.

Sell said the poor weather conditions make it particularly tough on the relays.

“It was snowing, and it was raining and it was freezing. It definitely makes handoff interesting,” she said. “You’re scared you’re gonna drop the baton because that’s a thing in weather like that.”

The relays, especially the 4×1, works a great deal on handoffs. That can make the difference between a win and a school record and a loss and a disappointing time or disqualification.

“We practice that every day. Our coaches are trying to get us to states this year,” Sell said. “It’s been a goal of ours since the ninth grade. It’s definitely getting the right steps. If you don’t have the right steps, then you have to slow down or speed up and it just messes everything up.

“We’re putting a lot of effort in practice,” she added. “I think it definitely pays off. I’m hoping the more effort I put in the more I’ll see out of it.”

When Sell isn’t running — which she does a lot, even in her free time — she spends a lot of time in the outdoors kayaking, fishing and hunting.

This fall she got an eight-point buck on the first day.

Yes, in the Sell family, you have to be fast. Abbi Sell finally beat her brothers to a buck.

“I got an eight-point this year. My brothers were a little mad,” she said, laughing. “I went out one day and got an eight-point. That was real fun for me. I’m always getting spikes and my brothers are out there getting 13-points and stuff.”