Q&A with Kate Grace

kate-grace

by Car ’17

Why did you start running?

I played soccer, and I was a varsity player in 9th grade, so they recommended that I do cross country as conditioning for J Period. I started doing that… and I became close with the girls on the team and slowly made my way into cross country and track, and I still played soccer all four years, but by the end of my time at Marlborough, I decided to run track in college.

Mr. Collicutt said your nickname was ‘Amazing Grace.’ How did that come about?

Coach Grant likes to give his athletes nicknames, and mine was ‘Amazing Grace,’ so he was the only one who called me that, him and Mr. Collicutt; I think [Grant] is still there, so if you ask his athletes, they’ll probably tell you that he gave them nicknames, too…[Grant] still calls me ‘Amazing. ‘ He was a great coach and was an influential figure for me.

What was your favorite part about Marlborough?

I loved the all-girls environment. It was a really unique experience that I was that I was able to have. It is kind of once-in-a-lifetime to be in an all-girls environment. I loved that there were people who were pursuing whatever they wanted to pursue, whether they were passionate about their academics, extracurriculars and athletics. The girls were all very supportive.

What was your favorite part about running for Marlborough?

My two best friends on the cross country team. We were all the same year, and we grew up with the program our freshman year, and we set these crazy goals of going to State. Freshman year, I think we barely made it out of our league meets, so it was very far fetched, but my junior year we ended up going to State, and it was a fun, Cinderella-type story. I remember our coach saying something along the lines of “You’ll remember this team and these moments for [the rest of]your lives,” and I kind of believed him, but I didn’t realize how right he was. I’m still very good friends with those girls, and I still look back on that fun moment.

What was your transition from Marlborough to Yale like?

In terms of practice, every time you move up a level—from high school to college, from college to post collegiate—you are surrounded by people who have also made the choice to be there, and so there’s sort of a raised level of commitment and passion. At Marlborough, on the cross country team, there was really only a few people—a core group of people—who really wanted to excel not only academically but athletically as well, but, at Yale, most of my teammates were as dedicated [to athleticism] as that group was. I am pushed by having people around me who are passionate about the same things I am.

How did it feel going into the Olympic Trials?

It was exciting…I knew I could [make the team], but I was injured last year, and so I knew I had made a lot of progress, but I didn’t have the results to show for it. So, I was confident in my own abilities going into the trials…All this work was finally going to pay off. The trials were exciting, but also very nerve-wracking.

What was the highlight of the Olympics for you?

Walking into the stadium and being introduced as representing the United States of America was a crazy moment, especially in the finals because I was the only U.S. athlete; I’d never been on a U.S. athletic team before, so there were definitely feelings of pride and honor about being there.