Endurance: Shelby Houlihan

Five Qs: How Shelby Houlihan overcomes

February, 14, 2014
Feb 14
Arizona State All-American Shelby Houlihan has established herself as a versatile standout. The 2011-12 Pac-12 Newcomer of the Year in cross country and track was the first athlete in conference history to be honored for her efforts in both sports.

The junior from Sioux City, Iowa was an All-American in cross country in 2012 (she placed 31st at nationals), was seventh in the 1,500 meters at the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, and earned her third All-American honor with an eighth-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Cross Country Championships.

While Houlihan is known for being a serious threat on the track, far fewer people know she has overcome spherocytosis, a rare hereditary blood disorder characterized by defects within red blood cells. From the time Houlihan was an infant, she endured periodic injections, surgery to remove her gallbladder and spleen, and a weaker immune system.

Despite the obstacles, Houlihan is well on her way to becoming one of the most versatile athletes in NCAA history, proving she is a fighter in more ways than one.

Here, she opens up about overcoming obstacles and her goals for the upcoming track season.

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