Lyndsay Oltmann never considered herself to be a hurdler when she participated on the girls track and field team at Johnstown-Monroe High School.

Lyndsay Oltmann never considered herself to be a hurdler when she participated on the girls track and field team at Johnstown-Monroe High School.

But Oltmann, who graduated from Johnstown in 2006, would go on to run the 400-meter hurdles at Milligan (Tenn.) College. She also would win the Appalachian Athletic Conference title in the event during her final collegiate meet on April 16 at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C.

"In high school, I ran the (400 relay), the (800 relay) and did the long jump," said Oltmann, who finished her undergraduate work in human performance and exercise science in three years. "If they needed someone to run the hurdles in a relay, I would do it. I wasn't the best hurdler in high school, but I could manage."

Oltmann won the league's 400 hurdles title in 1 minute, 12.92 seconds. Her personal-best was 1:12.7 in her previous race.

Oltmann said she just became comfortable with running the 400 hurdles.

"It's common for a runner to increase their distance from high school to college and I did that because I was more of a 100 or 200 runner at Johnstown and a 400 runner in college," she said. "My coach taught me to run hurdles. The big thing is not being afraid of hurdles and attacking them more than having good hurdle form, especially in the 400 (hurdles). You basically have to be a good 400 runner and not be scared of the hurdles."

Oltmann ran the 200 with the Buffaloes and also competed in the long jump before narrowing her focus to the 400 hurdles.

"Anyone who runs track and field takes the time to find their niche and find out in what event that they have the most potential," Oltmann said. "We learned last year that the best way to reach my potential was to compete in this event."

Oltmann also enjoyed the variety offered in the 400 hurdles.

"I think (the 400 hurdles) are fun and that's one reason I was attracted to them," she said. "It gives you something more to do than just run around in a circle every day.

"Also, as a long jumper, the event was a good mixture of running and jumping and it helped to keep things more interesting."

Connie Allen coached Oltmann in girls basketball at Johnstown.

"Probably her best attribute was that she was coachable," Allen said. "She was very intelligent and tried to go out and do everything to the best of her ability instead of relying on speed and athleticism. She tried to take what you gave her and tried to do it on the court."

Oltmann, who married Eric Nauman on May 22 at the Church of Christ in Alexandria, will begin her second year of postgraduate studies at Milligan as she works toward a master's degree in occupational therapy.

"It was definitely challenging (working on her master's and competing in track)," said Oltmann, who finished her undergraduate studies with a 3.98 GPA. "When people were getting together to study or to work on group projects, I was going to practice. But Milligan has a fairly tough undergraduate program and that helped out a lot."

But running track was more than a way to blow off steam.

"Being a student-athlete taught me time management and also perseverance," she said. "Both go hand-in-hand with athletics and academics. It will be interesting not having a time block set aside for going to track practice. I plan to run with some former teammates on long-distance jogs, but I'll have one more year of grad school to keep me busy."