The Echo sat down with Mount Greylock Girls Cross Country runner Kate Swann, who recently completed an undefeated season. Swann also qualified for the Nike Cross Virtual Championships, which she competed in this past Thursday, November 19th.
Echo: Tell me a bit about your season.
Kate Swann: So, we were undefeated, which was really exciting. I was undefeated as well, which was also really exciting. It was obviously an interesting season because we couldn’t really overall run as a whole team. We couldn’t all race together. We couldn’t race with the other teams, we had to race three minutes apart. We were still really glad to have the season and get out and run. It was definitely still just a great season and just time to have together which was awesome.
E: I heard you competed in Western Mass this past weekend. How did it go? How did it differ from last year?
KS: It went well. It was kind of challenging. It was nice to run somewhere new. We’d never run there before but we’ve run at Monument and Mount Everett and Waconah and our course, so it was kind of nice to get out somewhere new. It was also pretty flat, so that was a good thing. So, it was only us there, Pope Francis was there but we had to run separately from them and we only saw them for a minute. There were obviously a lot less people there. There’s usually a lot of competition there, but we didn’t have that this year. It was just kind of ourselves pushing ourselves, which was interesting but we all did really well and we were super motivated to do well. It was also less stressful because it was just more for fun. We weren’t trying to win or qualify for states, we were just going there to see what we could do, which was really great. And, obviously Lenox wasn’t there, who’s our main competition.
E: I also heard you qualified for the Nike Cross Virtual Championships. How do you qualify? How will you compete?
KS: So, for qualifying there was seven weeks where you could upload races and the races had to be 5k and verified. You would submit your time and you only had to submit two times, you didn’t have to submit seven times. So we submitted the times from Monument and Waconah or maybe our home race, one of the two. Then we also ran at the Spruces and that was the time that made me qualify because it was our fastest time. So I was in the top five runners from the northeast division excluding the people who were in the top two teams who were also in the top five. For the competition, I raced yesterday and I raced at the Spruces again. So, basically I had my phone with me and it does this interesting thing where you go onto the app that the Nike Championships are run through and it uses your phone GPS and you click start and it tracks your run. You set it for a 5k and it rings when you’ve reached a 5k and that’s where you end so it was a little weird because I didn’t know where the finish would exactly be, because it changes a little bit every time. It was helpful to just have it ring when you were done.
E: Do you plan on continuing your running career beyond highschool?
KS: Yeah, I definitely want to do that. I am not exactly sure where I want to go to college right now but I definitely want to go somewhere that I could run. I’m looking right now at NESCAC schools. I have just sort of started looking. I think I’m going to talk to the Carleton Coach but that doesn’t mean I’m going to Carleton. I’m just interested in looking and seeing what it is.
E: When did you first start running?
KS: I started running in seventh grade because there used to be a rule where you couldn’t do soccer until you were in eighth or ninth grade, so usually what a lot of seventh graders did was run cross country so I hopped on the bandwagon. I never really liked soccer that much which my family will probably be a little shocked to hear. It was just such a fun experience and I fell in love with it so I just continued doing it and now I’m here.
E: Have you enjoyed your time on the Greylock team?
KS: Yes, the Greylock team is such an amazing team. Everyone is so nice and supportive, and they make practice so fun. Every single person just brightens my day every day, and so I couldn’t ask for a better team. Everyone is so nice and they are all so amazing.
E: Do you have any words of advice for younger runners?
KS: I would definitely say for younger runners just stick with it because I went a long way from when I was in seventh grade to now. It’s just about the dedication. Just have fun with it. It’s not going to be an enjoyable experience and you’re not going to want to keep doing the work if it’s miserable, so find ways to make it fun. Run somewhere you really like that’s maybe really pretty, or run with your friends. Go somewhere where you can swim after your run if it’s warm. Keep on working and it will pay off.