Senior Katie Chan attempted to seek out her interests when she started high school only to come across that cross country would create not only her own well-known title as a famed varsity runner, but also a mentor. While in primary school, Katie Chan never considered being in a school sport, but her stamina said otherwise. “I usually ran with the guys and was always the first girl to finish the runs,” said Chan. Despite running to only get a grade, Katie Chan had slowly accepted her skill when she “generally had a feeling that [she] was a decent runner.”
Running in primary school did not cause Katie to immediately seek out a running-based sport in high school. “I honestly had no idea what cross country was,” said Chan. “I had never thought I would succeed.” She had tried out for Keppel’s dance team and Color Guard, but did not pursue either one. Her interests fluctuated until she went out to join cross country, challenging herself to try a vigorous sport.
What was once for a grade became an interest. As Chan began to see what she enjoyed doing at Keppel, she put effort and dedication into it. She had joined cross country during the summer before her freshman year. On her first competition at the 2013 Rosemead Invitational, Chan won a medal, and was placed Top 50. After that competition, Chan was hooked. “I had the motivation to continue this sport for the rest of my high school career,” said Chan about pursuing cross country. She will be concluding her four years in the sport when this season ends.
Being a student, athlete, and leader took a toll on Chan. She took positions in Key Club, and is currently the founder of Keppel’s Unicef club. Even before starting Unicef, Chan struggled at the beginning of her sophomore year with keeping a balance. “I was struggling academically dealing with both cross country and my APs and honor classes,” said Chan. She enjoys the challenge, eventually adjusting to a schedule for both her academic and athletic needs.
Cross country consists of running miles in the most consistent, fastest way possible. Athletes strive to beat their “PRs”, or personal records. A runner always expects better results each time he or she runs. “This sport compared to other sports seems very difficult in the [Keppel] students’ perspective”, said Chan. The sport is intense as Chan had to endure “unbearable” practices, running five to six miles daily. Cross country also has morning practices, beginning as early as 6 a.m. on weekdays. “The team and myself have to go through really intense training under many weather conditions!”
Chan’s proudest accomplishment is being captain in cross country during her junior and current senior year. Despite being the team’s only CIF-qualified runner during last year’s season, she also wanted to become a mentor to her “family”. “We are all runners on the same team,” said Chan. Her title does not define her, but it defines her effort given to the team. Therefore, she emphasizes how contributions are critical to shape this year’s cross country and herself because this sport is a “backbone” in her life. “It is a trait within myself where I had to slowly incorporate it into my daily routine.”