CHL Profile - Anna Podojil

07/01/2019

We are bringing back our CHL Profile from last summer.  It will be taking a closer look at an athlete/coach.  These are people that you have seen their names in stories and stats over the years on the website.

Our first athlete this summer is Anna Podojil from Indian Hill.
  She is the daughter of Dan & Rebecca Podojil and sister of Ellie (17) & John (13).  Anna is a 2019 graduate with a 4.36 GPA and will be attending the University of Arkansas, playing soccer.  During her high school career, Anna participated in soccer and track & field.  She was also in National Honor Society, a trained student leader, Spanish Club, & Dance Team.  Outside of school, she was involved with youth soccer training and club soccer.  Her awards are plentiful.  We will break them down by sport.
Soccer:
Back to back state Division II championships (2017-2018)
Three CHL, District, & Regional championships.
Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year 2017 & 2018
One of the three finalists for Gatorade National Player of the Year (2018)
Ms
 Soccer Ohio, Player of the Year across all divisions (2017-2018)
Player of the Year CHL, Southwest Ohio, State (2017-2018)
First Team CHL & Southwest Ohio (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
First Team All State, First Team All Region (2017, 2018, 2019)
Three times NSCAA & United Soccer Coaches Association High School All Region
United Soccer Coaches Associations High School
  All American (2017, 2018, 2019)
United States Women’s
  National Team (U18 Age Group) Player Pool
Participated in three USWNT U18 Training Camps
Track & Field:
Division II State Team Championship (2019)
200 Dash State Champion (2017), 400 Dash State Champion (2019), 4 x 400 Relay State Champion (2019-Division II & State Meet record)
Eleven podium finishes in three years at the state meet, including 2019 400 Dash 1
st, 4 x 400 Relay 1st, 200 Dash 3rd, 100 Dash 6th.
All State 11 times.
Six regional championships in the 100 Dash, 200 Dash, 400 Dash, 4 x 400 Relay
Ten district championships in the 100 Dash, 200 Dash, 400 Dash, 4 x 400 Relay
Eleven league championships in 100 Dash, 200 Dash, 400 Dash, 4 x 400 Relay, Long Jump
CHL Runner of the Year 2016, 2017, 2019.
  Note… Anna was injured in her junior year and did not compete in track & field.  That year, her sister Ellie was the Runner of the Year.
Cincinnati Enquirer Runner of the Year in Division II (2016, 2017)
  2019 has not been announced yet.
All time Greater Cincinnati record in the 400 Dash (53.67)
CHL league records in 100 Dash, 200 Dash, 400 Dash, 4 x 400 Relay, Long Jump.
School records in 100 Dash, 200 Dash, 400 Dash, 4 x 200 Relay, 4 x 400 Relay.
Anna was named the Penn Station Athlete of the Month in April.
  From all other athletes of the month, she was named Penn Station Athlete of the Year for the 2018-2019 school year.  Along with that came a $10,000 Scholarship.

Here are some questions we had for Anna:

SID – You have chosen to play soccer at the University of Arkansas.
  You have equal accomplishments in soccer and track & field.  Why soccer for your scholarship sport and was it a hard decision?

Anna – Soccer has always been my primary sport and the recruiting process for soccer starts much earlier than track.  When I made the decision, it wasn’t too difficult.  In fact, my track performances didn’t really start taking off until after I committed for soccer.
SID – As a follow up to that, do you plan to “walk on” for track & field?

Anna – I’m going to see how I feel after the soccer season.
  If I’m feeling good, I may try to run.  The Arkansas women’s track & field team just won the National Championship, so it would be fun to be part of that program.

SID – Why Arkansas?
  What will your major be?

Anna – A few reason I chose Arkansas… I lived there for about 8 years when I was younger, so I grew up following the Razorbacks.
  I always had a dream of competing for them.  Also, the women’s soccer team has been on the upward swing the past few years.  I wanted to be a part of a program that I could help get to the next level and complete for a SEC and National Championship.  Finally, the University of Arkansas is an amazing place.  Not many people in Ohio have been there, but it has so much to offer athletically & academically.  I haven’t decided on a major yet.

SID - The first 2 ½ years of your varsity career went great.
  Then came the injury in the off season. .  How did it occur and what was your mindset at the time?  Also, how long was rehab?

Anna – I tore my ACL and meniscus in my right knee during a club soccer game in Florida.
  I was upset, but knew I would come back 100%.  My rehab was about 5-6 months.  I had surgery to repair my meniscus in January (2018) and then ACL repair in February and was cleared to play in August.  Even though I cleared to play, it still took time to get back to where I was before the injury.  I was very fortunate to have a great surgeon and athlete trainers who were always very optimistic about returning to soccer and encouraged me along the way.

SID – Three of the four years of varsity sports, you had your sister Ellie as a teammate.
  How was that?  Have you two been competitive throughout your life or is she more or less a training partner?

Anna – It has been awesome to play with Ellie the past three years.
  She’s an amazing player and we play great together.  I can’t wait for her to join me at Arkansas next year.  We don’t really compete against each other too much.  We get along great and really support one another more than anything.

SID - Indian Hill had back to back state titles in soccer.
  Was the second one tougher?

Anna – Yes, it was definitely tougher for me personally and for the team.
  For me, it was tough coming back from my injury and not being 100% the entire season.  For the team, we just had to deal with a lot in terms of injuries, etc.  Plus, we had a target on our back every game from winning the title the year prior.

SID – What do you attribute to the success of the Indian Hill soccer program the last four plus years?

Anna – Obviously it all starts with our coaches: Amy Dunlap, Dave Lawson, & Monica Brown.
  They set the tone for everything and create a competitive, yet fun environment.  Also, each one of my four years, we had strong senior classes.  I think it’s really important to have seniors setting the expectations and leading the underclassmen.

SID – How long have you played soccer?

Anna – I think I started when I was 7.

SID – Tell us about your club experiences.
  How did you get involved with the U18 team that on a national championship?

Anna – I was fortunate to have great club experiences over the years at Cincinnati United and Ohio Elite.
  Like high school, I had great club coaches and teammates, several of which are great friends of mine.  In 2017, my club team won the national championship which is one of my best soccer memories.  For the U18 USWNT, the national team coaches scout some of the big club tournaments.  They watched me play a few times and sent the invitation to attend their training camp.  It’s an incredible experience to play with the top girls from around the country.

SID – When did you get interested in track & field?

Anna – I ran some when I was younger, but really became interested my freshman season thanks to Coach Savage.

SID – Your senior year in track & field was a “dream” season.
  Up to the state meet, what are some highlights that stand out to you?

Anna – Since I missed last track season, the first highlight this season was just being able to get out there to compete again.
  I ran in a couple of indoor meets over the winter to get back into track shape.  My first highlight from a meet is when we won the 4 x 400 Relay at the indoor state championship meet.  It was an exciting come from behind win against Akron Buchtel which is the same team we beat at the outdoor state championships.  The outdoor season was a lot of fun.  Coach Savage took us to a couple of big meets in Pittsburgh and West Virginia.  I knew we had a strong team from the top to bottom and it all came together at the end of the season by winning the CHL, district, regional, & state.

SID – The team qualified for nine events at state.
  Did this help the confidence of the athletes?  Before you actually clinched the state title, was there a point in the meet you all said, “We have this in the bag”?

Anna – We all knew we had a chance to win state, but never thought we had it in the bag.
  Even though we had nine events at state, you’re not guaranteed any points.  Each runner has to perform and place high enough to get points.  A lot can happen at a state meet and there can be big point swings from event to event.  Every Indian Hill girl ran great and contributed to the team win.  It was an amazing feeling for all of us.  I credit Coach Savage and the support staff for having us all ready to compete.  The state meet is a big stage and for every single one of us to have personal best performances says a lot about our preparation and focus.

SID – You had to run in four events in the running finals.
  How tough was that to do and did you put a priority which were the most important events?

Anna – At the state meet, running four events is very difficult.
  It’s a quicker meet, so there is not much recovery time between events.  Plus, every race is against great competition, so you have to give 110%.  It’s also difficult because many of the runners I was competing against were only running in one or two events, so they were more fresh.  I didn’t really have a priority race.  I thought my best chance to win was in the 400, which ended up happening, but I gave my best in every race.  My focus this year was helping our team win the state title, so that just means getting every point you can for the team.

SID – Indian Hill clinched the state title going into the 4 x 400 Relay.
  Did that take the pressure off you four making it easier to break the state record?

Anna - Honestly, we did not know we had clinched the title.
  We still thought we had to win the race or least beat Akron Buchtel to clinch the win.  Our focus was on winning the 4 x 400 Relay state title.  Ellie and Meghan (O’Brien) knew that Elizabeth (Whaley) and I had already run a few races and their job was to get us a lead.  Ellie started and put us in the lead position and each one of us just kept increasing the lead.  We were running for each other.  We all ran our best.  It was a great way to finish off my high school athletic career at Indian Hill.

SID – You anchored that 4 X 4 team.
  Tell us your thoughts as you crossed the finish line?

Anna – it was just amazing because it was like winning three different things at once.
  We won the race, won the state team championship, and broke the state record.  Knowing I was going out on top and that it could possibly be my last track race ever, also made it very special.  My relay teammates, my sister Ellie, Meghan O’Brien, and Elizabeth Whaley all ran their hearts out too.

SID – Tell about any person or persons who have been a positive force in your success.

Anna – Most important my family has been there for me through anything and everything.
  I can’t thank them enough for the endless support over these past years and all of the sacrifices they have made so my siblings and I could play the sports we love.  I have the best support system in the world from my parents to my coaches, to my teammates and just the entire Indian Hill community.

SID – Five years from now, what do think Anna Podojil will be doing?

Anna – I would really love to be traveling around the world after college participating in mission trips or continuing my studies abroad.
  If my college soccer career goes well, I could see myself playing professional soccer in the NWSL.


Anna is currently at the University of Arkansas.  We wish her luck in her college career and beyond.                 

July 3 Update - We have found out that Anna has received yet another award.  She is the LaRosa's Female MVP of the 2018-2019 school year.