Ethan Hirschauer hasn’t exactly had a standard childhood but just like a race, it’s not always about how you start – it’s all about how you finish.
After an impactful series of events early in life, Hirschauer moved in with his grandparents.
Little did Ethan realize, moving in with his grandparents would set him down a path that may define a huge part of his future.
His grandpa always made it a point to be very supportive of Ethan’s endeavors. A year after Hirschauer moved in with his grandparents, he started to become a full-blown athlete.
Two of the sports that quickly became Ethan’s favorites are basketball and track.
“My Grandpa played a major role in just everything,” Ethan Hirschauer said. “He helped me more with basketball but he supported track so much too.”
Ethan is very talented at both sports, but has been making quite a name for himself at Waldron for his abilities on the track. Hirschauer is now a 7th grader at Waldron Junior-Senior High School with what seems like a bright future ahead.
This time last year though, sports were likely the least of Hirschauer’s problems. Before his 6th grade year, another event that would impact Ethan forever came out of nowhere.
“Going into the last school year, my grandpa died July 23,” Hirschauer said. “Now, when I step on the track it’s like that’s the one time I can feel him with me again. That’s definitely part of why I love it so much.”
When Hirschauer started running, he wasn’t doing the same type of events he does now.
“I originally wanted to be a sprinter and then I started having hamstring problems, so I moved to distance running,” Hirschauer said. “That year we won the county and conference. My fastest mile was a 6:08 which I only really have one person to thank and that is Will. We would compete, and he ran a 5:17 mile that year.”
“After that, I moved back in with my mom and I had a decent cross country season,” Hirschauer said. “My first meet of last school year I ran a 5:17, then in three meets I ran a 5:15. My average time this year for the mile was about 5:18. Now, I am ranked second in the State for 6th grade boys. I need to improve by five seconds to tie and six seconds to have it.”
Improving that much that fast has been a result of sheer determination and an equal amount of effort.
“Ethan is a dominant runner because of his natural/God-given talent and ability,” Waldron track coach Chandler Miller said. “I don’t even have to really coach him up in practice because he just instinctively knows what he needs to be doing and then proceeds to do even more to become a top athlete.”
“You cannot put your natural ability to paper,” Miller said. “His best time of the season was achieved at the MHC Meet with a 5:11 time in the 1600M Run. For a 6th grader, this is a very strong time.”
Ethan has shown mental toughness beyond his years as he continues to shave time off of his runs, one mile at a time.
“I think just digging deeper was the key when I ran that 5:11,” Hirschauer said. “It was probably 89 degrees out and you know that’s horrible running weather. Having the power to push through and know that I can push that limit is a major thing for me because you have to get past that barrier before you go anywhere else. It’s like with the Newbury Park runners, those guys are in pain but they push through. Track has definitely made me stronger as a person. It teaches us to push through pain when it hurts the most.”
“Ethan is one of the most talented runners I’ve ever seen in a middle schooler,” Miller said. “He’s got the mindset of a high schooler when it comes to wanting to succeed and do the right things to better himself and his team. He won the Mohawk award this past season due to his ability to bring a good sense of sportsmanship and care to his whole team.”
The Mohawk Award goes to any individual on a sports team that excels at sportsmanship and being a good teammate all season long. It isn’t really based on sheer athletic ability alone. The award is given to one per grade level, per sport.
“The kids just feel good about themselves when they see him push himself to do better,” Miller said. “His teammates also want to strive to be their best. This season he set a personal best in the 1600M with a 5:11 time as a 6th grader and took first place at MHC as a 6th grader, and he’s only going to get stronger and faster as his body matures and grows!”
Ethan already is involved with several events other than the mile, and is even advocating to expand what Waldron has been competing in.
“My current events are 1600, 800, 4x1 relay,” Hirschauer said. “I wanted to try long jump but we already have really good jumpers. We don’t have a 4x4 relay team so I am gonna push to get that this year so we have a chance of only giving up 4 points in a meet.”
As far as Ethan is concerned, his track career is only getting started. Running is something he hopes to have a future in, well beyond High School.
“I would say my goal is to get a scholarship because that is something I have wanted for a while now that I have been running. Hopefully I can make it to the Olympics in the mile, which isn’t impossible. We as a state have produced some very talented runners.”
In order to do so, Ethan will have to work very hard. Thanks to his work ethic, he already is starting to work on goals to help him get there.
“I would say this year in the mile I want to lead the state for fastest 7th grader in the mile,” Hirschauer said. “To me, it’s really worth it to try and see if I can get it because I was so close this year. Now that I know I have something special I am just gonna keep working at it.”
“Ethan is going to best improve by what he knows best,” Miller said. “Ethan consistently researches the top runners in the state and begins to plan how he can begin to be better than them. Ethan is constantly looking for new ways to become better each day. Whether it is extra laps, running in his spare time, or doing other sports, Ethan is just going to always be himself!”
Miller has 100 percent confidence in Hirschauer, and believes he has what it takes to succeed in multiple facets.
“Ethan has the potential to go wherever he sees fit for himself,” Chandler said. “With his extremely kind personality, talented athleticism, and his high-ability academic performance, Ethan can and will go far in the future not only with his running abilities, but with his character as a young man.”
“In addition to these characteristics, Ethan is an excellent student who always strives to do the right thing by his teachers and peers,” Chandler said. “As a teacher who has had Ethan in class, I can’t think of anyone better who shows what it means to be a role model for his friends and peers.”
According to Miller, once Hirschauer finds passion for something, the rest is just set in motion.
“One of my most favorite memories of Ethan doesn’t even come from track,” Miller said. “Rather, it comes from school. Ethan is a strong speaker when he’s passionate about a topic he finds interesting to him. In class, we would have historic debates on different historic events and one of my best memories is when Ethan would stand and object to other students’ remarks and immediately counter with more historic evidence in a fiery way. It was almost like watching a lawyer defend his client in court!”
Hirschauer also wanted to give someone who has been a huge factor for his success a lot of credit.
“One thing I will add is that if it wasn’t for my mom, I wouldn’t be doing this at the level I am,” Hirschauer said. “She pushes me to be sure that I am running, eating right and just making sure that I am just on the right path with running. I really have to thank her.”