Athlete of the week: Seventh grader Katie Hill is just getting started with the Warriors
Published 8:30 am Wednesday, September 20, 2023
She’s a runner, she’s a track star.
LaGrange Academy seventh grader Katie Hill is running past the competition. The young Warrior has a passion for running, and it cannot be contained.
“After the first few seconds, you start to feel really good,” Hill said. “Before the first race of this year, I was a little nervous because last year I kept finishing around 20th and didn’t know how I would do this year.”
It did not take long for Hill to establish herself as a standout for the LaGrange Academy cross country team despite this being just her second year in the program.
She continues to get better and improve from race to race. Her personal best for a 3k cross country race is now 14 minutes and 27 seconds, which she set at the Gardner Newman Invitational. She ended up winning it for her first cross country first-place finish.
Hill enjoyed running with the cross country team during her sixth grade season, but a switch flipped inside of her this season, and she went from passively enjoying it to outright loving it.
“That was the first time that I won a race, and I won it by like a minute and a half over the other girls,” Hill said. “It made me think ‘wow, maybe I can be good at this.’”
Running is not Hill’s only athletic passion. Her first sporting love was soccer, which she will be going into her third year playing for the school as a striker.
“It is still one of my favorite sports,” Hill said. “I scored a hat trick in a game last year and that was a special moment for me.”
Volleyball is another sport she has added to her resumé since moving up to middle school. She gave it a try as a sixth grader and is now growing along with the program.
Coach Ken Klinger, the cross country and girl’s basketball coach at LaGrange Academy, has recruited Hill to play basketball this season as her athletic schedule is set to be year round going forward.
These are not her only athletic endeavors. During the summer, Hill can be found playing lacrosse in New York.
“Every year we go up to New York in the summer, and I play box lacrosse,” Hill said. “I started doing that about two years ago.
“It is kind of scary because I’m not that good, but I also have a lot of fun with the sport.”
New York also holds another special place in Hill’s heart. It is also the location of her favorite place to run.
“There is a place in New York around a cottage with a big road,” Hill said. “It is really pretty, and I love getting up in the morning and running there in the summer. It is so peaceful.”
In Georgia, she finds herself running on The Thread around LaGrange quite regularly, leaving her mother in her dust or forcing her to hop on a bicycle to keep up.
When she is not running with the cross country team, she stays in her running shoes on the pavement somewhere. Hill does her best to run five times a week and has ran in her fair share of 5k’s despite her youth.
Now, Hill has eyes on taking on an even bigger running challenge.
“I’m hoping to train for a 10K, and there is one in Pine Mountain that I want to do around the holidays,” Hill said. “I love running 5k’s and really want to try and push myself to do a 10k.”
Hill is a Warrior to the bone. She has been going to LaGrange Academy since she was in kindergarten and would have it no other way.
“You know everyone here, so you don’t have to worry about things,” Hill said. “It is like a big family.”