Laker track phenom Kate Hall chooses to be a Cyclone

Kate Hall, senior at LRHS Kate Hall Letter of Intent Celebration When: Tuesday, Nov. 18 Time: 6:30 p.m. Where: Great Room, Lake Region Vocational Center What: Press conference as Kate signs her National Letter of Intent to join the Iowa State Cyclones, (Division 1 track program). Schedule: Words from LR Athletic Director Paul True, Coach and Kate Hall; 6:50 p.m., refreshments will be served.

Kate Hall, senior at LRHS
Kate Hall Letter of Intent Celebration
When: Tuesday, Nov. 18
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Where: Great Room, Lake Region Vocational Center
What: Press conference as Kate signs her National Letter of Intent to join the Iowa State Cyclones, (Division 1 track program).
Schedule: Words from LR Athletic Director Paul True, Coach and Kate Hall; 6:50 p.m., refreshments will be served.

By Wayne E. Rivet
Staff Writer
When Kate Hall was a freshman, she took the Maine high school indoor and spring track seasons by storm, emerging as a top contender and state champion in the long jump and dashes.
Over the next two years, Kate created a whirlwind as she collected titles both indoors and outdoors and kept rewriting the Lake Region and state record books.
So, as a senior, it is fitting that when she stops leaving competitors here in her dust, she will become a Cyclone.
After several collegiate visits and some serious soul searching, the Lake Region senior has selected to attend Iowa State University — a Division 1 school, which competes in the Big 12 Conference.
She will join a student body that numbers 33,241.
The school was established in 1858, first known as Iowa Agricultural College & Model Farm.
Ames, Iowa is 1,452 miles (plus or minus) from her Casco home — which amounts to a 21-hour, 26-minute road trip.
Last year, the Cyclones finished fourth in the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Next week, Lake Region H.S. will hold a celebration of Kate signing her National Letter of Intent as a full scholarship athlete. The News asked the Laker phenom about how she went about the selection process and what is ahead.
BN. First, a few question about the selection process. I am sure you have heard from a number of schools, how did they pitch their school was your best option? How many schools were “seriously” in the running?
Kate: When Coach (Fletcher) Brooks came out to my house he was different than other coaches in how he presented the program, himself, and how he coaches. He was very organized and had all of the workouts in a folder for me to keep and look at. He talked a lot about my future and where he sees me going instead of what I’ll be doing a week from now, or next season, etc. I could tell that I wasn’t going to be just “another one” if I went to Iowa State. I visited four schools: LSU, University of Georgia, University of Oregon and Iowa State. Those were my top choices.
BN. What were you looking for in a school? What aspects were the most important?
Kate: Before the whole recruiting process began, I made a list of what I wanted the most in a school. Of course, I was looking at the track program. I wanted a top-notch program, with nice people, and a coach that I fit well with. Also important to me was the academic aspect and where the college was located. In the end, it didn’t matter if it was a warm or cold climate. I just wanted a good education at a college that felt like home.
BN. How many schools did you visit, what were the visits like, any experiences most memorable?
Kate: I visited Louisiana State University (LSU), University of Georgia, University of Oregon, and ISU. College visits were the most exciting part of this recruiting process. Even though they were fun and exciting, they were also exhausting. I was allowed 48 hours on campus. No more than that was allowable. I flew out on a Thursday for each visit, got there Thursday night, stayed in a hotel for the night, and began my visit Friday morning. Fridays were the busy days. It mostly involved walking, meeting with people, touring facilities, and more walking. It was good to find out every little detail about what I would be doing if I went to that college, but I cannot tell you how exhausted I was after that first day. Saturdays were the fun days. Those were spent getting to know the team and coaches, attending huge D1 football games, going bowling, playing laser tag, and carving pumpkins. Sunday morning, I was up early and back on a plane home. Those seemed like the longest days just because I was so tired and ready to be home.
There was definitely a great experience at each school.
LSU: The coach at LSU seemed like one of the most down-to-earth guys I had ever met. When I had to call Coach Lane and tell him “no,” it was one of the hardest things I’ve done. Even though I knew he would completely understand and wish me the best (he did), it was like I was losing a friend in a sense. I got to know his three-year-old daughter, and younger boys when I visited and just hung out at his house with his family and the team like we were all best friends. Even after the visit, we sent e-mails back and forth about different songs and artists we liked.
UGA: I didn’t know this until I visited Georgia, but it is absolutely amazing when there are other recruits on visits with you that do similar events. When I went to Georgia, there was another recruit named Karrington, who runs the 400 meters and 200 meters, who was visiting, as well. From the first night we got there, I got along with her and her parents like I had known them forever. We talked about the recruiting process, and experiences we’ve had at meets, and people and coaches we both knew. Karrington and I hung out the whole time together while we were there and I knew that if I had decided to attend UGA, then I wanted her to be my roommate. It was the hardest leaving UGA and having to say goodbye to Karrington and her parents, not knowing when and if I would see them again. The people I have met from these visits are amazing and definitely one of the best parts about the process. Also, the high school long jump national champion goes to UGA. I always thought she was kind of arrogant until I actually got to talk with her there. She ended up being one of the nicest girls I have ever met and we text each other on and off about how we are.
Oregon: Oregon was absolutely unbelievable because it’s Oregon. It’s called Track Town USA and everywhere you go there are pictures of Olympic track athletes and people who went to Oregon. The facilities were out of this world and the athletes I met were unbelievable. I stayed with the NCAA D1 champion in the long jump, who also got second in the 200, and third in the 100. That, in itself, was worth visiting Oregon. Not only that, but I met Olympians, professional athletes, and people who were on the path to become the best in the country.
BN. What led you to your decision to select Iowa State?
Kate: Iowa State fit everything I was looking for. Honestly, it wasn’t hard to choose Iowa State. I knew from the first day I visited campus that I wanted to go there. The academic aspect fit exactly what I wanted, compared to some of the other schools where I wasn’t completely confident about the academics. The coach is very individualized and will do anything and everything in his power to make his athletes better. Not only that, but he spent a couple days on separate occasions with my trainer, learning exactly what I have done and what he does to help me improve, and even decided to incorporate some of my trainer’s techniques into his workouts. Lastly, the team atmosphere is exactly what I was hoping for. Everyone at ISU was very welcoming and friendly. I just had the feeling that we all clicked instantly. I have no doubt that I will be well taken care of at Iowa State.

WORKING OUT AND eager to start the final winter high school indoor track season, Kate Hall will now be able to focus solely on her performances after committing to Iowa State University this upcoming fall on full athletic scholarship. (Rivet Photos)

WORKING OUT AND eager to start the final winter high school indoor track season, Kate Hall will now be able to focus solely on her performances after committing to Iowa State University this upcoming fall on full athletic scholarship. (Rivet Photos)

BN. Does it seem possible that you are a senior? What will be some of your goals for the winter season?
Kate: Being a senior is definitely bittersweet. I’m positive this is normal for everyone, but I have very mixed emotions about being a senior. I am beyond excited to go to college and begin the next chapter of my life, but at the same time I will miss high school track, everyone from Maine, living at home, and of course my family and friends.
Usually I have a whole list of goals written out on paper months before the season even begins, and trust me, I’ve been thinking about them constantly, but this year I’m trying not to have my goals set in stone because I’ve found focusing too much on goals messes me up psychologically at track meets. I think too much about what I need to do to achieve them when what I actually need to do is focus on relaxing and just let them happen. However, my main goals are to set personal records. I know if I can do that, then I will be very happy. My big goal is to become a national champion in either indoor or outdoor (hopefully both).
BN. I know you are a humble person, but can you talk about what gives you an edge over competitors, both here and at national events?
Kate: For me, I guess it comes down to hard work, determination, and motivation. I am more than willing to do whatever I need to do to become the best that I can be. If it means having a hard running workout alone, I’ll do it. Or if it means having two workouts a day, I’ll do it. If it will help me in the long run, I’ll do anything. However, there are also some perks that come along with this. For example, I don’t mind getting a massage once a week or the ability to eat a lot and not having it affect me whatsoever. Those things are pretty cool. But in the end, it all comes down to my love for the sport. I tell myself each year there’s no possibility that I could love this sport any more than I already do, and each year I prove myself wrong by wanting to compete that much more than I did the year before or to do any little thing different in my training that could help me improve.
When it comes to competing at the national level, I owe all of my success to my trainer, Chris. He has helped me improve each year more than I could imagine, and every season he surprises me by introducing new techniques to help me get even better. There’s no way I could ever thank him enough for everything he has done for me.
BN. Did you ever expect to have so much success when you first started out? Some people “change” when they enjoy such success in sports. What has kept you so humble?
Kate: It feels like for me that from the time I started my high school career until now, my perspective on things has remained the same for the most part. I just want to be the best that I can be and whatever is supposed to happen, will happen. I still get that same exact nervous feeling I got when I was a freshman before each race, and I still get just as excited when I set a personal record or one of my friends does well. But honestly, I never imagined I would have made it this far and I am beyond thankful for that.
As far as being humble is concerned, I don’t really have to tell myself to remain that way. Track is different from other sports. It’s very individualized and very social. You get to know all of the coaches and everyone you compete against from the other teams. It feels like everyone is one big, friendly team that is just trying to improve from week to week. That’s the beauty in track; it’s just fun, and that’s literally all there is to it. I don’t need people seeing me as some crazy, intimidating athlete who is self-centered and arrogant. I just want my competitors to feel comfortable with who I am as a person and also as an athlete and hopefully they like me and also competing against me, and if not, then that’s okay too.
BN. People ask, if Kate didn’t run track what sport do you think she would have been very good at? So, what do you think?
Kate: When I was younger, soccer and basketball were my favorite sports. I liked soccer better than basketball, but I think I would have gone further in basketball. I always wonder what would have happened if I had done those sports throughout high school instead of track. But in the end, I wouldn’t have it any other way than it is now.
BN. Do you ever miss not playing other sports?
Kate: I do miss playing other sports, but not a lot. I am so dedicated to track and love the sport so much that it greatly outweighs my need to play other sports. Besides, I still fool around with a basketball and soccer ball from time to time and that’s all I need.
BN. Finally, because of the amount of training and commitment to track, is it still fun or does it seem like “work?” Some kids burn out because of the amount of time they spend trying to perfect their skills. Have you ever felt that way? If so, how did you get past it — or if not, how have you managed to keep it fun and fresh?
Kate: Yes, it is beyond fun. Training is fun for me (usually), competing is fun, and knowing everyone involved with the sport is fun. I don’t think I can ever see that changing considering each year I love track more and more. However, by the end of outdoor season, I am ready for a break, but that doesn’t mean I’m not having fun. It just means my body is getting tired from all of the training. Within a month, I’m ready to start again.
Kate plans is to major in Kinesiology with an emphasis on Exercise Science. Being homeschooled has enabled her to take college classes her junior and senior years of high school, which count for high school and college credit. Kate will enroll at Iowa State with nearly a full year (eight courses) of college already completed. She will be able to take a lighter class load while still graduating in four years, which will help her effectively manage her track career and academic demands at the same time, according to her father, Eric.

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