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EC senior Kate Funke has run cross country since her freshmen year at Everest and a member of the varsity squad each year. This summer she was invited to attend the United State Naval Academy cross country camp. Kate’s dream is to attend the Naval Academy next year. She is looking forward to making her senior season at EC the best one yet. Kate shared her reflection on her experience at the camp:

“Navy athletics are some of the most competitive in the country. Therefore, being invited to attend the United States Naval Academy cross country camp this summer was an honor. Through this opportunity, I was able to train firsthand with Navy coaches and learn the same exercises practiced at the Academy. Each day I was there was composed of three sessions. These activities ranged from mile repeats, long runs, and strengthening workouts. I remember after my first day of camp I was exhausted and could barely walk. I called my parents and explained that I didn’t know how I was going to survive another 7 days. The other runners were some of the best in the country, and the workouts were hard. But one of the things the coach talked about on the first day was that everyone is going to struggle with something at camp. Not every runner is the same and although someone may be faster or slower than you, the only person that matters is yourself.

Although there was rarely a time we were not outside, we did have classroom time to discuss running education, techniques, proper fueling and the importance of sleep, which is the one I struggle with as a high school student. Moreover, one thing that stuck with me from the discussion is the sacrifice it takes to be a good athlete. I remember Coach Lanzel saying how if it was supposed to be easy, everyone could do it. It is those who truly want it and work hard that are the best athletes. These talks really made me realize that the sport of cross country is more than running. So many aspects play into becoming a better runner. It is not about being the fastest on the team as I have learned; it is about giving everything you have because that is the only way to get better. An example of this at camp was when we did mile repeats. It was 95 degrees out, and the trail was very hilly without much shade. You could do as many repeats as you wanted; however, I did not know how I was going to do even one. I was sore and tired, but I fought through the pain and ended up doing four. One of the best rewards in running is the feeling you get after finishing something you didn’t think you could do in the first place. All in all, I am so grateful for this experience. Being able to run with athletes who are on the US Navy cross country team is something I never imagined I would do. I not only grew as a runner from this experience, but I was exposed to daily life at the Naval Academy. After getting to see Induction Day and the incoming midshipmen while I was there, it is crazy to think that could be me next year!”