February 04, 2023

No excuses for PCM’s Abi Teeter

Mustang freshman with Cystic Fibrosis qualifies for state cross country meet anyway

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder that causes problems with breathing and digestion. People with CF have mucus that’s too thick and sticky, which blocks airways and leads to lung damage.

None of that sounds like any fun. And it certainly could hinder someone who’s trying to compete on a cross-country course.

But not PCM freshman Abi Teeter. She refuses to let CF be the story of her prep running career.

“It affects me, but I try to not let it affect me in a bad way,” Teeter said. “I just need to make sure I breathe.”

According to PCM head cross country coach Eric Karr, Teeter was told at a young age she may never run again.

Thankfully for Teeter, that diagnosis turned out to be false and the Mustang freshman will run in the state cross country meet in her first prep season.

“Medically speaking, the fact that she’s running at all is rare,” Karr said. “It’s rough for her to restart getting in shape and she also missed the last two-thirds of her eighth-grade season with a stress fracture. This was a fantastic day for her and her family.”

If Kori Teeter, Abi’s mother, was asked a few years ago if she thought it was possible for her daughter to make it to state at all, she likely would have said no way.

It wasn’t until this season that Kori felt this could be Abi’s reality.

“I didn’t start thinking something like this was possible until just this year,” Kori Teeter said. “With the medication she’s on, she doesn’t have a cough at all. A year or two ago, she would have coughed so hard after she ran. And now, when she finishes, she’s strong. It’s great.”

It would be easy for Abi Teeter to use CF as an excuse when things don’t go well. But her parents won’t allow that to happen.

“We are very proud of her, but we also never let her use it as a crutch or an excuse,” Abi’s father Matt Teeter said. “Her lung function isn’t where everyone else’s is so it does make it harder for her to run. But we started thinking this was possible within the last few years. It’s cool to see her get there.”

Abi Teeter used the support she got from family and friends as motivation. She also didn’t want to let them down.

“I have all these people supporting me and people telling me that I’m an inspiration to them,” Abi Teeter said. “That gave me the motivation to do good for them and for me. I have something no one else has so I have inspiration for myself. It’s bigger than a sport.”

It hasn’t always been easy for Teeter. When she was not in her best shape early in the season, the CF definitely bothered her more.

Teeter nearly broke 21 minutes at the state qualifying meet on Oct. 20. She did not break 22 minutes until Sept. 29 and even ran in the 23s and 24s early in the season.

“At the beginning of the year, when I’m not in shape, it definitely gets to me a little,” Abi Teeter said. “I cough a lot. I have to take deep breaths to get air back in my lungs.”

Reaching the state meet in your first high school season is difficult for any cross country runner.

For someone with CF, I can’t imagine how much harder it is.

That didn’t hinder Teeter though. And no matter what time she runs or what place she finishes in at this week’s state meet, the 2022 season was definitely a success.