As Jack Shannon can attest, things don't always work out the way they are planned.

As Jack Shannon can attest, things don't always work out the way they are planned.

Shannon, who lives in Powell and is a 2008 graduate of St. Charles Preparatory School, was looking to close out his high school track and field career in the Division I state meet June 6-7 at Ohio State.

Instead, he was sidelined for his entire senior season with a stress fracture in his right heel.

"I really wanted to have a breakout senior season," Shannon said. "I put in the work to do it, so it was very frustrating. It definitely took a mental toll on me."

St. Charles failed to advance anyone to state, but coach Al Hostetler thinks Shannon would have qualified if he had been healthy.

"Every kid's dream is to get to the state meet, so I know he was frustrated," Hostetler said. "But we know what he could've done. We know he would've been there."

Shannon had qualified for state as a sophomore, finishing 11th in the 3,200 meters in 9 minutes, 48.15 seconds. He seemed poised to return last year but had an adverse reaction to allergy medication that he had taken the day of the district 3 meet and failed to advance to the regional.

"He wouldn't use this as an excuse, but the medication really affected his rhythm and also his ability to run well," Hostetler said.

Shannon experienced more disappointment last fall running cross country. As he neared the finish line in the Division I regional, he suffered a sprained right ankle.

Though he was able to complete the race, he missed qualifying for the state meet for the second year in a row as he finished 18th of 133 runners in 16:39. Westerville North's Jeff Hannaford secured the 16th and final qualifying spot in 16:33.

Shannon, who had finished 64th (16:47) of 153 runners at state the year before, would've had to sit out the state meet even if he had qualified given the extent of his injury. In addition to the sprained ankle, magnetic resonance imaging revealed that Shannon had a stress fracture in the heel of the same foot.

Shannon, who set the cross country program record for fastest time by running a 15:53.58 in the Galion Cross Country Festival last fall, spent several weeks on crutches.

"The doctor told me to take six to eight weeks off from running and I took off 13 or 14, so I didn't think it would be an issue," he said.

Shannon resumed running in late January and gradually began to increase his mileage. His training was going so well that he competed in the St. Charles Indoor Invitational on March 1, placing second in the 3,200 in 10:01. His time qualified him for the indoor state meet March 15 at Akron.

But in the days before the indoor state meet, he experienced another setback.

"About a week after the St. Charles meet, I went back to the doctor and had an MRI and there was a second stress fracture in my heel," Shannon said. "I think I pushed myself too hard. I think I just wanted to get out there and go."

Shannon again was advised to avoid running for eight weeks, effectively wiping out his senior season. Though frustrated, he has managed to maintain a positive attitude.

"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger," he said. "This will make me a stronger person in the end."

In an effort to take his mind off of running this spring, Shannon focused on his academics.

But track never was far from Shannon's mind. He closely followed the team and on the occasions when he would take in practice, he would offer encouragement to his teammates, particularly his fellow distance runners.

"I don't know how much of a help I was, but it definitely was rewarding," he said.

Although Shannon's prep career in cross country and track did not end the way he had hoped, he is not dwelling on what might have been. Instead, he is focusing on preparing himself to compete at the next level. He will attend Boston College and has been invited to try out for the cross country and track teams. Boston College does not offer many athletic scholarships for members of its men's cross country and track teams.

"Pretty much everyone's a walk-on," said Shannon, who plans to focus on improving his conditioning this summer. "I'm taking things real slow. My body will be ready (for cross country), but I don't think I'll be competing in the fall. I think I will kind of focus on training with the team and get ready for indoor track."

"He's been through a lot, but in the end, the story turns out great," Hostetler said. "It's a huge relief because the whole reason he was running was to get to the next level."