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From local runner to state contender, Katelyn Wichar sets the trail to success

Ready+to+walk+the+send-off%2C+Kate+Wichar%2C+among+members+of+the+cross+country+team%2C+leads+down+the+main+hall+as+students+cheer.+Wichar+sets+to+compete+for+the+State+title+in+cross+country+on+Nov.+3.+
Maddie Kane
Ready to walk the send-off, Kate Wichar, among members of the cross country team, leads down the main hall as students cheer. Wichar sets to compete for the State title in cross country on Nov. 3.

Silence fills the air as everyone’s eyes fall to the white starting line junior Katelyn Wichar stands behind. She takes a deep breath and mentally prepares for her race. A shot is fired, and the race to the finish line begins. 

Wichar is Walnut Grove High School’s first-ever state-bound athlete. She qualified on Oct. 24 after finishing seventh overall in the 5k. Katelyn Wichar is set to compete in the state competition in Austin in the first week of November. Her career started in middle school and then again during her sophomore year at Rock Hill High School. Wichar has worked hard since the beginning to get where she is now. 

It was not her primary sport when she started cross country in middle school, but she used it as conditioning. 

“I first started cross country to stay in shape for basketball and soccer,” Wichar said. 

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Cross country was not always her main priority,  but she started prioritizing last year while trying something new. 

“I started running cross country in middle school,” Wichar said, “then my sophomore year, I picked it back up and tried out track for the first time.”

Growing from the new experiences has benefitted her by exploring different training strategies, which helped her succeed in cross country and surpass the high standards set on the runners to qualify for state. 

“To qualify for state, your team either needed to place fourth or better, or you had to be a top ten individual that qualified after those four teams,” Wichar said, “I placed seventh in the overall standings.” 

Although she is relatively new to the sport, she excels greatly. Although this is Wichar’s most impressive achievement, it is not her first accomplishment for cross-country in Prosper ISD.

“This year and last year, my team has qualified for regionals. So, qualifying for states is my biggest accomplishment.” Wichar said. “In track, I also qualified for Area and held two school records in the 800m and DMR (distance meter relay) at Rock Hill.”

An achievement like going to a state requires plenty of hard work and determination. To qualify for states, the training is pretty rigorous. 

“I run six days every week with varying workouts. I do a tough workout on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday that gets my heart rate up. On Tuesday and Thursday, I do recovery runs. Finally, on Saturday, I do long runs. I run about thirty miles every week.”

With constant practice and school work, showing up every day and working as hard as possible is hard, but Wichar found a motive. 

“My teammates motivate me because showing up to practice with them every day is always so much fun.”

Her coach, Terrenee Knight, has nothing but good things to say about Wichar’s character. 

“Katelyn is motivated, positive, resilient, and focused. Every day and every workout is approached positively – no matter how hard it may be,” said Coach Knight.

One of Coach Knight’s biggest goals this season was creating a good atmosphere. She has put much effort into creating a safe and inclusive environment for her athletes. 

“I do believe that the time that we have taken to know every athlete as an individual and ensure that the relationship between athletes and coaches is present has had a positive impact on our team.”

The state meet is approaching shortly, which leads to a lot of excitement throughout the team as this is the first-ever state meet for Walnut Grove. Wichar is looking at the competition in a positive direction. 

“Being the first-ever qualifier is cool. I’m just really excited to be able to compete at state!” Wichar said. “I am excited for the tough competition and going on the trip with some of my teammates.!”

Walnut Grove’s send-off happened on Nov. 2 before Wichar left for Austin.

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About the Contributor
Maddie Kane, Photojournalist
Maddie Kane is a sophomore at Walnut Grove High School. She moved to Prosper from Denver, Colorado last year. This is Maddie's first year on Wildcats Wired. Outside of school, she is on the Prosper Lacrosse team and enjoys hanging out with her friends and family.
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