Former volleyball player turned runner Kate Stringfellow has returned for the 2016 cross country season after serving an LDS mission. The redshirt senior from Highland high school has been with the program since 2010, and she’s eager to get back to competing.
“She’s one of those athletes that is always a steady presence,” said cross country head coach Kyle Kepler. “She has a very good team-first attitude. She’s is a great academic kid and I never have to worry about her.”
Stringfellow had originally tried track as something to keep her in shape for volleyball. Her volleyball coach also happened to be the track coach, so there wasn’t much to think about from that standpoint. And her brother and sister had both ran track, so it seemed almost fitting she would find herself there soon enough.
“My first meet, I think I finished fourth overall,” Stringfellow said. “I was really surprised by how well I ran since I didn’t think of myself as a runner.”
From then on, she began competing more and more in track and cross country. At first, she tried to do it all.
“During the summer, I had practices for both cross country and volleyball,” Stringfellow said. “After a while, I just got burned out doing too much. From then on, I figured I would dedicate myself to running and see where it would take me.”
Eventually, her path would lead her to the U. But she almost chose a different path. Stringfellow was actually preparing to go to BYU and had her sights set on running for the Cougars. However, at the last minute, she felt that the U was a better fit for her.
Since beginning at the U, Stringfellow says she has had many great experiences with the team.
“One of the best experiences I’ve had so far here was to see the team qualify for the NCAA Championship,” Stringfellow said. “It was amazing to be a part of this team and see the progress we’ve made. Another great experience I’ve had is to run at all the competitive meets, the big meets against really good teams.”
Overall, Stringfellow says that running on the collegiate level has impacted her life in many positive ways.
“Running here at the U has given me a huge appreciation for hard work and dedication,” Stringfellow said. “Cross country is interesting because it’s very individual, but at the same time it is also very team-based. It teaches you a lot about yourself. It’s pretty cool because you can see and measure the progression that you make.”
Kepler has nothing but positive things to say about his senior runner.
“She really is just great,” Kepler said. “She’s one of those great ‘glue’ people who is a great locker room presence. She’s someone that a lot of the younger girls on the team look up to. She always takes everything in stride and is always completely positive. She never complains about anything that happens. She encourages the team and is totally selfless. There are so many positives about her [that] I could go on and on.”