XC runners inspired by older sisters to overcome challenges this season

Sophomore Keller Kanat and sophomore Katie Lucken were both inspired to join Groves’ cross country team for the same reason: talented older sisters. Both Kanat and Lucken watched their sisters train for meets at a young age and wanted to emulate their sisters’ determination during races.

“My sister did cross country, and I had been going to her meets,” Kanat said. “I loved how close and upbeat everyone was. This year I choose to do it because I loved how it gives me something to look forward to during the long school day.”

Kanat will never forget a moment this year that tested her endurance.

“It was the day of homecoming, and it was the first day that my pack (Cat Christe and Natalia McIntyre) ran together. It was hot and the air was heavy, and there was the last hill before the finish line,” Kanat said. “We all started pushing as hard as we could; we were passing people and we all got amazing times. When we all crossed the finish line, it was such a happy moment to know that those girls just stayed by my side and pushed me through 3.2 miles.”

Lucken also overcame challenging conditions with the help of her teammates, especially from her older sister Emma.

“I choose to do cross country because my sister did it,” Katie said. “During the summer she has a lot of dedication even though it’s really early in the morning. She is always at captain practices. She works hard every day no matter how hard of a day she’s had.”

This example helped Katie do well at Kensington, a course known to be hilly, slow, and painful.

“The morning of that meet, the coach told me I had to pass runners to help our team score, and I felt a lot of pressure because it was a hard course,” Katie said. “I ran well for it being a really slow course, but I still hate Kensington.”

Despite this challenge, Katie ran the 5K in 22:35.

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