Senior Swan Song: Kenadi Krueger

Name:​ Kenadi Krueger

School:​ Thompson Valley

Q) What was your most memorable race/throw/jump/moment?

My most memorable race is definitely the 3200 in Arcadia. The conditions were perfect and the competition was spectacular. I constantly had someone pushing me to go faster the whole way which is my favorite kind of race. It was my most eye-opening race and I truly believed that "I could." I set my mind that I could break 11 minutes and when I passed the finish line in 10:55 I was completely awestruck! Considering it made my coach cry, that's how you know it was a special race.

Q) Who would you consider your biggest competition over the four years?

I would say my sister, Olivia. She was always there to help push me to be my better self (and obviously I don't want my younger sister beating me haha!)

We would work hard together at practice and compete even harder at meets. She definitely helped motivate me to push harder when I won the conference 1600, especially because she almost got me that race! Thank you Liv for pushing me to be better, for being brutally honest when I needed it the most, thanks for being my sister, but also a crazy talented competitor all in one, and for being my favorite person to run with because let's face it; we both enjoy each other's company WAY too much.

Q) What was your greatest accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment was being a leader for the Thompson Valley Eagles and completely turning around the team culture.

When I was a freshman, I never felt welcomed or really a part of the team. Being the top runner on my team caused some adversity on the team especially with the upperclassmen. This was very difficult for me. I swore to be the best leader since that year and to welcome everyone who joined the team despite their place on the team.

I was made a team leader as a sophomore and made sure that the new freshmen felt like they belonged. Our team became super close over the years and the more we grew together, the better we competed together. Helping change the team from a disconnected team to a fully cohesive team has definitely been my greatest accomplishment.

Q) If you could do it all over again what would you change about your career in high school?

If I could do it all over again I would make sure to truly submerge myself into every experience of my sport and be grateful for all the good times and even the bad ones.

It is easy to get distracted by life and I feel like there were times where I let the things outside of my sport impact me during my sport. I wish I was more thankful for the bad days because I'm human and I'm not perfect. It is easy to be hard on yourself when you don't perform as well as you wish you had and if I could go back I would embrace those moments more.

Q) What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

I struggled with believing in myself. I knew I had the physical ability to do what I wanted to do, but it took me a long time to learn that belief is such a huge part of competing. I had to realize that I am my own competitor and that it doesn't matter how good the other girls are; all that matters is that I can do it and I have people supporting me the whole way.

My other most difficult obstacle was sickness. I got sick quite a bit and it was really frustrating at times. There would be days that I would want to train as hard as I could, but I would have to cross train or take the day off. It took a lot of patience and support to get through, but it just made me even more thankful for the days where I could be healthy!

Q) What will you miss the most?

There is so much to miss, but I am for sure going to miss my team and my coaches the most. I feel like the people who do cross country and track really make the sport what it is. It is going to be so difficult not being able to see them everyday because I truly love each and every one of them! We have created so many special memories together that you don't normally get to experience in life!

And of course I'll miss my coaches as well. Coach Callor has been there for me through so much and I think of him as more than coach, I consider him my friend! There's been many long runs full of meaningful conversations and the bond you create with a coach is so powerful! I have so much love and respect for Callor and it's definitely going to be difficult to have to say goodbye!

Q) What advice would you give to younger athletes?

To the younger athletes, don't ever take your opportunities for granted because you honestly never know when it could be your last! The opportunity to compete and grow as an athlete and person is so special.

Also don't let your sport become a "chore", it's so important to enjoy what you're doing! If it becomes difficult to stay motivated just remember why you started in the first place or how your sport has positively impacted you. You'll be surprised by how important your sport actually is to you!

Q) What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?

Coach Callor cared about me as a person and not just an athlete which is why he has helped me grow so much! He has helped pick me up after the hard races and comforted me and encouraged me. Without Callor I would not be the runner I am today. He has taught me the importance of belief and to run with my heart. He drives 30 minutes to practice, then spends almost 2 hours training with us, to have to drive another 30 minutes home. His commitment to the team has really impacted me and influenced me to put in the hard work and stay committed to my goals.

My coach has believed in me even when I didn't. He has never given up on me even when I was struggling with different obstacles in my life. His belief helped grow my belief in myself which helped me become an even stronger competitor. Coach Callor has been a huge light in my life especially during more difficult times and I'm really grateful for all of his support! Thank you Callor for everything you've done!

Q) What are your college plans?

I am planning on running for the University of Kansas Jayhawks! I remember visiting the campus as a junior because we were racing Rim Rock (which is an incredible course by the way!) Also Coach Norton had competed there when he was younger and obviously had a lot of kind words for the college itself.

Finally senior year rolled around and Coach Whitt reached out to me and obviously I was beyond excited. From my first chat with Coach Whitt, I felt super drawn to KU and I felt comfortable about the whole idea of going there. When it was finally time for my visit I was so excited to meet the team and really be able to feel if Kansas was the place for me. Needless to say the visit was everything I hoped and more. It just felt like home.

Q) Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?

I would first like to thank my parents. They've been a huge part of my running career (they were the ones who introduced me into running in the first place!)

Thank you Mom for teaching me about resetting my breathing when a race gets difficult, for being my running partner for a very long time (I know I used to not be the easiest person to run with but that didn't stop you), and more importantly that I am capable of amazing things.

Thank you Dad for helping me get in touch with my sprinter side, for the family races where you would always beat me (I'll get you someday), and telling me to run the 400 like "you're running to catch the bus".

Thank you mom and dad for believing in me and helping me grow as both an athlete and as a woman.

Thank you Nana and Papa for being so involved in my life and supporting me throughout my whole crazy career. Thank you Nana for recording our races and screaming the loudest for Liv and I, for being so emotionally invested in each and every race (if I had a penny for every time we made you cry...), and for always being so loving after the hard races.

Thank you Papa for giving me $10 after my races so I can go out to Chick-Fil-A with my team, for always being so proud of your granddaughters and making sure everyone knows that "those are my granddaughters!" every time Olivia and I finish a race, and for always making me laugh and smile before my races even if I was super nervous.

Thank you to my sister Sophie who is a trooper for watching me race at track meets that lasted 7 hours and for being my biggest cheerleader!

Thank you Lance for recording literally every cross race and track meet (and for adding those cool effects and bopping music to compliment each race), thanks for all of the time spent training with us especially our 5am trail runs that I dreaded, but loved afterwards, and for all of your inspirational stories about your racing endeavours!

Thank you to the rest of my family and friends who take time out of their busy lives to come support me. Because of you, I work harder and challenge myself to beat my goals!

Thank you to Coach Norton for all of the hard workouts that helped me get fit for all of the difficult races to come, for always knowing what to say to make me feel better, for making grammar fun (even though I still struggle with it at times), and for all of the time you sacrifice to help me improve and reach my goals!

Thank you to all of my coaches who have helped me grow over the years and for supporting me through everything! All of you have uniquely shaped me into the athlete and woman I am today and in a sense I am a part of each and every one of you, so thank you!

Q) Is there anything else you would like to add?

I just wanted to say thank you to MileSplit for doing this for us seniors! It really means a lot that you would take the time to help us share our feelings and memories one last time! Thanks for being a huge part of my journey in track and cross and for ALL that you do!

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