Top Runner Katelynn Romanchick’s Journey as an Athlete

Katelynn Romanchick smiles after crossing the finish line of the 1600 run at the Greater Hartford Invitational on May 14. Romanchick matched the school record of 5:07.69, also earning herself a personal record.

Katelynn Romanchick smiles after crossing the finish line of the 1600 run at the Greater Hartford Invitational on May 14. Romanchick matched the school record of 5:07.69, also earning herself a personal record.

Bhavya Bhushan ’16
EE  Senior Sports Editor

Over the last three years, Katelynn Romanchick has earned the school record for the mile, consistently placed first for the cross country team, and has been voted captain for next year’s cross country and track teams. Her achievements as a runner are outstanding. Surprisingly, as a freshman Romanchick’s only plan was to play basketball.

Romanchick said, “I only ran a couple of 5k’s before and I thought running was gross. I never wanted to keep up with it.” However, Romanchick’s plans quickly changed when her mother signed her up for cross country without telling her.

After the sudden change in plans, Romanchick’s goal of was to just keep up in order to train for basketball. Romanchick described the first practice, saying, “It was an ‘easy run’ of three mile. The coach was just talking and laughing the entire time and I was dying to stay up front and pretend to be just as not tired as he was. I remember going home and saying ‘Mom I ran three miles.’ It was crazy to me then. At that point I didn’t even know what cross country was, I just knew I was running.”

Two weeks later Romanchick ran her first race. “I went into the race not expecting anything, just hoping to finish” Romanchick said. She did more than just finish. The freshman started the race at fifth place for the team, but passed others as the race went on. With one mile left, Romanchick passed the team captain, then number one runner for the team, finishing in fourth place overall and first place for the team. Romanchick continued to place first for the team during the rest of the season, even earning second team all FCIAC.

Despite her success on the team, it took another year for Romanchick to focus completely on running. Romanchick said, “I still viewed it as something to get me in shape for basketball, but I did get more motivated.”

Romanchick started to realize that she wanted to become a full time runner during her sophomore year, when she would run at indoor track practices in the winter then go to basketball practice after. Romanchick said, “I loved basketball, but I was starting to love track and running just as much. The more I thought about it the more it was clear to me. Of course I knew I could get more attention and money at a D1 level school through running, but it wasn’t just that. I became so close with people on the track team. It was like a second family to me, and it’s even more so now.”

The next year, Romanchick quit basketball for indoor track and the difficult decision paid off. Romanchick was incredibly successful during her first season of indoor track, making it all the way to New Balance Nationals. She said, “Not taking winter off definitely helped me improve my times a lot, more than I ever imagined. I never had to get back into shape during a season because I was always in shape. I went from eighth in the FCIAC for the two mile to eighth in New England. Last year I was 12th in the FCIAC for cross country and I’ll be going into my senior year seeded first. It’s amazing to look back at the runner I was and know all the work I put in paid off.”

Running completely changed Romanchick’s goals for high school, for the better. At least once a week, Romanchick is called down to C House to pick up recruitment letters, among which include those from the University of Connecticut and Sienna College. As Romanchick enters her senior year, she will make important decisions about which school she will run at in college, in addition to achieving her high school goals. Romanchick is aiming to break 5:00 in the mile and 10:50 in the two mile. The future captain also hopes to help the cross country team be a top team in the FCIAC. She said, “I’m about to break records I never really believed I’d get to, but I’m here now and it still seems crazy.”

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