• 20230821-091017-20190611-152652-e5a087c2ca

Anna Hall likes to have fun when she competes, and the former Valor Christian standout has become one of the world’s leading female heptathlon athletes.

Hall was first in the women’s heptathlon with 6,677 points at the USA Track and Field Championships on July 6-7 in Eugene, Oregon. That placed her on the United States team for the World Athletics Championships which will be held on Aug. 19-27 in Budapest, Hungry where she will be one of the favorites.

The two heptathlon sessions are set for Aug 19 and Aug. 20.

“It’s been pretty crazy getting ready, lots of practice time, travel, treatments, appointments and all that but it’s fun for me,” said Hall.

Olympic and world champion Belgian’s Nafi Thiam will not be entered because of an achilles tendon injury which leaves Hall and Anoul Vetter of the Netherlands as the leading contenders.

“I was really looking forward to competing with her (Thiam) this year,” said Hall. “I know I’ve got a long career ahead of me and she’s close to being done so I guess we will save it for Paris next year (Olympics). My mind is always the same no matter who is competing.”

A heptathlon is an event that combines the seven events of 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter dash, long jump, javelin and 800-meter run.

“My favorite events are probably the 200 and 800,” related Hall. “It is just flat running. I find it the simplest and I don’t think as much about technique. I just like it when I can just run. The toughest on for me is the javelin. I started it late and it is the most boring.”

Hall, the 22-year-old Highlands Ranch product, is getting close to challenging Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s 35-year-old world heptathlon record of 7,291 points set in 1988 at the Seoul Olympics.

“That is definitely something I’ve been working towards,” said Hall of Joyner-Kersee’s standard.

“It’s not a short-term goal. It’s a little bit of a reach to maybe be saying next year or next week but it is something always on my mind.

“It’s always been in my mind that I could be the record holder someday. We do think about the long term on how do we score high in my career and not take some quick, easy short-term gains that might not help in the long term.”

Candy is dandy

The candy-chewing Hall is an unusual competitor and has fun during meets. She is not one to hold back or hide her emotions.

Hall eats candy between events and drinks grape juice for good luck.

“It’s not the only thing (candy) I eat but I do carry around a bag of those Nerd Clusters when I need a quick burst of sugar,” she said. “Honestly when I’m out there, I get bored and I like to laugh a little bit.

“I definitely try to have fun. I just love track ever since I started it when I was young and I just try to hold onto that. Every time I compete I think it’s an opportunity not to be taken for granted. Yeah, I kind of like to stop and take a look at where I am at out there and have fun with it.”

Hall dabbled in different sports growing up in Highlands Ranch and was 7 years old when she began high jumping and running 1,500 meters.

She comes from an athletic family. Her father, David, was a quarterback at Michigan, played basketball and competed in the decathlon. Her older sisters, Kathryn and Julia, played tennis and ran track at Michigan.

Hall transferred to Valor Christian from Arapahoe as a sophomore and won eight state track titles at Valor, five of them in 4A. As a Valor senior in 2019, she won 5A championships in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and ran a leg on the record-setting 4×400 relay team.

In 2018 she established her first pentathlon (five events) and heptathlon national high school records. The following year she improved both her national high school records with 4,302 and 5,847 points.

“She was one of the most special athletes that I got to coach,” said former Valor coach Brian Kula, who now owns Kula Sports Performance. “From the time I met her, she kind of had that vision that she wanted to be really special. Not to sound like a know-it-all, we did see something special in her. She worked very hard and was very committed. What is going on now, isn’t a surprise to me at all.”

Hall fondly remembers her days at Valor.

“I have really fond memories with Coach Kula,” she said. “The most fun part was winning state as a team. It was really fun winning as an individual and the team aspect as well.”

Hall has been a special athlete for a long time.

As a collegiate competitor, she transferred to Florida from Georgia, and in 2022 she had a personal best of 4,618 pentathlon points in winning the Southeastern Conference indoor title. Hall then claimed the pentathlon and heptathlon crowns at the indoor and outdoor NCAA Division I championships.

She set a heptathlon personal best with 6,412 points at the Texas Relays, breaking Joyner-Kersee’s collegiate record. In July 2022, Hall tallied 6,755 points as the bronze medal winner at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

On May 28 in Gotzis, Austria, Hall set another personal best with 6,988 heptathlon points.

The next meet on her list is the World Championships.