• Curtis Anderson

World Indoor champion Price joins OTC Elite

EUGENE, Ore. – In Maria Mutola’s final race at the Prefontaine Classic in June of 2008, the six-time Olympian and 10-time World Champion was nearly upstaged by a 17-year-old prep sensation.

Her name was Chanelle Price.

The recent graduate of Easton Area High School in Pennsylvania showed no fear as the women’s 800-meter race unfolded that day before a sold-out crowd of 14,221 at Hayward Field. Price quickly moved to the front, and surprisingly, held the lead until 150 meters were left in the race.

At that point, the 35-year-old Mutola began to pull away from Price, and the celebrated Mozambican went on to capture her 16th straight win at the Pre Classic. As for Price, the young upstart finished sixth in 2:01.61. At that time, it was the second-fastest mark in U.S. prep history.

Eleven years later, the memory of that performance still brings a smile to the face of the 29-year-old Price, who moved to Eugene two months ago to begin training with Oregon Track Club Elite.

“Oh man, that’s still one of my favorite races,” she said. “I was fearless in high school. My coach told me I was going to win and I believed him. I didn’t care who was in the race. If I ever need a little bit of inspiration to keep going, I look back to that. I owe it to that Chanelle to reach my peak. I don’t think I’ve done it yet, and I will keep going until I get there.”

Price won a gold medal in the 800m at the 2014 World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland – the only American female to ever do so – and she is confident that OTC Elite coach Mark Rowland can help her reach her goal of making her first Olympic team this summer.

“When I sat down and thought about it, if a coach can take anyone from the 800 to the marathon, and make them successful, that’s someone who knows how to coach,” Price said. “I know a lot of people have come through his program, and so many have been successful. He’s going to figure out what works for Chanelle, and that’s what I need.”

Price, who set her 800m personal best of 1:59.10 in 2015, joins an accomplished middle distance training group in Eugene, led by standouts Hanna Green (PR of 1:58.19, 2019) and Sabrina Southerland (PR of 2:00.72, 2018).

“It’s a really solid group,” Price said. “If I can stay healthy, the sky is the limit. Coach told me to be patient, and that will be tough for me, but I have to trust him. We’ll use indoors to see what we need to change in training, and then really attack the outdoor season.”

Unfortunately for Price, staying healthy has been a challenging task during her career. She has endured multiple injuries over the past six years, including two foot surgeries, a bout of mononucleosis, and a pulmonary embolism caused by blood clots in both lungs.

Still, she’s not ready to give up the chase.

In fact, Price, who was born in New Jersey, and moved to Pennsylvania when she was 11 years old, is eager to add to an already impressive resume, which features three gold medals in the 4x800m relay (2014, ’15 and ’17) as a member of Team USA at the IAAF World Relays.

Price, the 2008 High School Athlete of the Year, was also a nine-time all-American at the University of Tennessee (2008-12), but she never won an individual NCAA title, placing third in the 800m at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in her junior and senior seasons.

“I never really faced any adversity in high school,” Price said. “So, once I got to college, and I had some injuries, or I wasn’t the best on the team anymore, I was like, ‘What the heck? Someone is beating me in practice?’ It was a huge adjustment and I didn’t handle it well.”

She did handle her academic obligations, however, earning a post-graduate scholarship from the NCAA in non-profit management after graduation from Tennessee with a degree in journalism and a minor in business. Price said her parents – Harry, a U.S. Marine, and Yolanda, a parole officer – created a home environment where getting good grades was always a prerequisite for competing in sports.

Today, Price continues to draw on those early lessons of focus and determination as she strives to reach her ultimate goal of an Olympic berth. She is thrilled to be in TrackTown USA and she can’t wait to race in front of the Hayward Field faithful in her OTC Elite singlet.

“Just to be on the line at the Trials, it’s going to feel like the whole crowd is behind me,” she said. “And I’m excited for the new Hayward Field. The fact that it will be my home track, is just ‘Wow.’ The fans get it here, and as athletes, it’s so different when the fans get it.”