A Fort Lewis College cross country runner is basking in the glory of earning All American Honors. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network, brought to you by Tafoya, Barrett and Associates and ServiceMaster Restore. I’m Connor Shreve. After running to a 26th place finish at the Division II Cross Country National Championships, Fort Lewis College junior runner Katie Fankhauser is enjoying being the Skyhawks’ first All-American in any sport since 2017.
I kind of feel like a celebrity. Yeah, everybody has totally come around me and uplifted me from my result. And I’ve gotten tons of congratulations from the administration and my team and students on campus. It’s been pretty cool.
Well, Fankhauser did turn heads all season, according to Coach Sean Jakubowski. He knew the morning of the national championship race in Washington State Fankhauser was primed to bring it.
She is obviously super talented. She has a very high genetic ceiling, and I think we’re just starting to scratch the surface of it. But I think what makes Katie different from any other athlete that I’ve coached is just her mental toughness. She is the most mentally tough athlete that I’ve ever coached. We were out there on the course, and it was raining, sleeting, snowing. I mean, there was ice on the ground, and she was just like, this is perfect.
The race did not exactly go to plan for Fankhauser, who believed she may have suffered for making a move for third place at the four-kilometer mark.
And I went for it, and I tried to make a big move, and it backfired a little bit. I’m not sure if it was the move that caused it, but I ended up getting a really severe side cramp, like a side stitch that was almost crippling. I mean, I was borderline in tears from it, but I was running through it anyways, and running as hard as I possibly could, given the pain that I was in. I think I got passed by 11 people in maybe a little less than one K.
Making Fankhauser’s result even more impressive is the fact that it came with limited preparation. The junior never got a full training block, as a result of battling injuries. And it’s why her sights are set even higher next season.
This is the first time I’ve ever been healthy, and that’s because he listens to me and our training is super personalized. And I think with that, I think the sky’s the limit, honestly. I mean, I want to place as high as I possibly can.
She wants to win. I mean, we’ve talked about it.
That’d be cool.
She wants to win.
And Fankhauser knows achieving that is all about sacrifice.
Everything I did this cross country season was with running in mind. The things that I ate, the time that I went to bed, when I did my homework, everything was based around when I’m running and like how I’m fueling my body, how I’m recovering. I’d spend hours in the training room, because I have to keep up on those little injuries that still linger.
Fandkhauser plans to start her spring track season next month, with her sights set on breaking the Fort Lewis school record in the 5K. Coach Jakubowski believes she can do it. She’s already unofficially broken the school record in the one mile distance. It’s clear there’s more milestones on the horizon for Katie Fankhauser. Thanks for watching the Local News Network. I’m Connor Shreve.