NEEDLES — Four in the morning Saturday will see two van loads of Mustang cross country runners on their way to Las Vegas for their first meet of the season, under the direction of new coach Katie Keller.
“We have a great team,” Keller said. “Very hard workers. We’ve been working on shaving off time every week.
“I’m excited for this first meet because it’s a really big meet. We’re going to see a lot of talent out there.”
A competition swimmer since age 9 who has dabbled in golf Keller is new to the sport of organized running. “Last year I completed my first official 5K and my first official half-marathon,” she confided; continuing that, “I love being in the outdoors, obviously I love to help kids and I feel like in sports you can learn a lot of life lessons.
“Running is a big mental game. It’s an individual sport and it takes a lot of mental grit to get through some of those runs. I like to help those kids unlock their inner potential.”
Keller said she’s beginning her coaching career with a learning mindset. “Mr. Stahl, the previous coach, has worked very closely with me and guided me and I’ve learned a lot from him in just the few months since I’ve started.”
For a coaching philosophy, she said she’d “refer back to my swim coach who valued hard work, teamwork, and always gave positive reinforcement.
“One of my other main points is just to help students realize that failing is a first step in learning,” she said: “It’s okay to fail. It’s okay not win a race. How do we work through that and how do we set attainable goals?”