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Beaver River’s Pominville persists through pain

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BEAVER FALLS — There is no obstacle that Nola Pominville can’t run through.

A recurrring stomach sickness and a slew of foot and ankle injuries have slowed down Beaver River’s senior girls cross country captain slightly.

But Pominville refuses to let any of it stop her.

“I always feel the pressure to push harder and do my best because I’m the captain and the oldest on the team,” said Pominville, the third of eight children in her family.

“I want the younger runners to look up to me and I’d like to be their role model so I have to always do my best and I don’t ever want to sit out.”

Pominville — in her fourth varsity season and second as a team captain for the Beavers (6-0) — suffers from the stomach illnesses gastritis and ulcerative colitis.

As Pominville described, her stomach lining can easily become inflamed and leaves her prone to developing ulcers. She takes six pills a day and avoids sugary foods.

“It makes me very nauseous and light-headed. It’s not a fun thing to have and sometimes I have relapses,” Pominville said.

Pominville’s latest setback came after a Frontier League dual meet in late September. After completing a personal-best race of 20 minutes and 44 seconds, she began to feel a pressing abdominal pain that was worse than any she had felt.

After another round of visits to her doctor’s office, Pominville switched to a strict gluten-free diet and, just last week, underwent a medical procedure.

“It’s hard at times, but I was willing to do whatever it took to be well again,” Pominville said.

Pominville ran in the Beaver River Invitational last Saturday, just three days after the procedure, despite feeling extreme nausea.

She finished the race in 25 minutes, 39 seconds. Pominville said that she had to sit down at times during the race and had trouble breathing.

“I think if her stomach is feeling better, she can get right back out there and be one of the top leaders in the league again,” Beaver River coach Cheryl Steiner said.

“Even when she’s feeling sick, I can hardly keep up with her.”

Pominville missed nearly a month last season when the she was first struck by the sickness. She said it is something that comes and goes, and the symptoms usually last for a few weeks at a time.

Pominville said that her abdominal pain and nausea have started to subside this week. Her time in Tuesday’s league tri-meet was nearly four minutes better than Saturday’s race.

Pominville said that her goal entering the season was to run in the state meet and, though her stomach hasn’t cooperated as she had hoped it would, that goal remains unchanged.

“I’d still like to make it to states this year. That is my ultimate goal,” she said.

Pominville has also fought through injuries throughout her career. She suffered an ankle injury late in her freshman season then developed a stress fracture in her foot as a sophomore that required several weeks off to heal.

Last season, in addition to the stomach illness, Pominville was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in her foot.

Pominville — the regular winner of Beaver River’s annual summer mileage award — said that she would like to continue her cross country career at St. Lawrence University.

“She really does have so much potential, if she could just see it someday and not have all these setbacks,” Steiner said.

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