Having Coffee with Indiana Rannells

Sarah Cahalan '14 | August 17, 2018 

One fall night about nine years ago, my parents dropped me off at Main Circle for my first overnight visit to Notre Dame. I was meeting a high school friend a few years my senior for a stay in her Walsh Hall dorm room, and as soon as I arrived, she suggested a number of collegiate activities we could try for the evening. It was a Thursday night, so a few dorm parties were on the schedule, but my friend wasn’t too keen on those, she explained — she was worn out after her kickboxing class.

Kickboxing? I thought. Now that’s what cool college girls do.

I never asked my friend who taught her class that day, but in all likelihood it was the same woman who taught my second-ever kickboxing class last Thursday at the new Smith Center for Recreational Sports: Indiana Rannells.

Indiana is a bit of a legend around campus. The grandmother of six has taught RecSports classes since the Clinton administration, and she hopes to teach her standard schedule this fall semester: 14 classes a week ranging from Sunrise Cycle to something called simply Flex n Tone. Before taking her class, I heard a variety of reports on the longtime instructor. “She’s tough.” “She’s great.” “She’s both.”

Needless to say, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked into her studio, but, given my checkered past with physical fitness, I was more than a little apprehensive.

It turns out I didn’t need to worry.

“When Jennie Phillips, my boss, called me for interviews, I was shocked,” Rannells told me of her first contact with the University in 1998. A recent transplant from Nicaragua at the time, she had never heard of Notre Dame while growing up. (In fact, she’d never heard of the state of Indiana until she arrived here — Indiana is a common Nicaraguan girl’s name.) And she certainly didn’t imagine that someone with her background could be in-demand as a fitness instructor.

Read more here.

 by Daily Domer Staff

Posted In: ND Magazine