A Kempf Salute

(Photo provided by Doug Hubred)

What are your personal records?

    1600: 4:35

    3200: 9:53

    5k: 16:54

    How did you get started as a track or cross country athlete?

    My older sister Amy joined cross country when I was in 4th grade, so I had been to the courses and track meets and I knew that this was something I was going to want to do once I entered 7th grade. My parents also really encouraged me to go out as they both ran competitively in high school and college. I gave it a try, and I didn't like it right away as I was a lot more into basketball and baseball, but I ended up loving it. 

    What was your most memorable competition?

    That would have to be the Section 7AAA True Team meet this year. I was running just the 3200, trying to break 10 for the first time, which had been a goal of mine I had been trying to hit since early junior year. I was coming off a frustrating 10:20 performance the week before at the Maple Grove Invite, so I wasn't too confident in myself. When the race started I just stuck behind 4 guys I knew that were great runners- Adam Wilkinson, Eli Hoeft, Zach Long, and Nick Scheller, and did everything in my power to try and stay right behind them, and that really helped me, they were very smart racers, so it helped me run consistent splits. Laps 6 and 7 I started to fall off a little bit, but on the last lap I had a 67 second last lap which led me to a 20 second personal best of 9:53. I remember my teammate Sam Theisen giving me a hug as soon as he crossed the line because he knew I had broken 10, and then I was just jumping up and down and shouting out of excitement. 

    Who were your greatest competitors in your track/XC career?

    In the last couple years I have gotten to know Justin Brakob well from racing him, we've had some close races together, and that has really pushed me. In the past, Parker Phillips was a great competetor both when he was on my team and after he transferred, but he eventually got so fast that I wasn't close to him in races. Overall, just my section and conference competitors have all been great to race, and get to know. I've made a lot of friends from other schools over the years and I'm thankful for that experience. 

    What was your greatest accomplishment as a track/XC athlete?

    My greatest accomplishment would have to been a couple of weeks ago when I was presented with athlete of the year at Armstrong during our senior recognition ceremony. I wasn't expecting it at all, and I was presented with a Wheaties box with a picture of me running on it. It was a shocking, but very exciting moment for me. 

    If you could do it all over again what would you change about your track/XC career?

    I would try to stress less about my races. I would get nervous before races to the point where I felt like I needed to throw up before most of my races. I would try to find more ways to relax and enjoy it, because it goes by quickly. 

    What are some pump up songs you listen to before races?

    Well I have differently named playlists on my phone that are specifically meant to prepare me and the guys for races. I start of my morning listening to a "Car Rides" playlist on my way to school, and that's filled with classic songs, by artists like Earth, Wind, and Fire, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Paul McCartney, that type of stuff. Then- when we're in the locker room on race day, I put on a "Locker Room" playlist on my Beats Pill, where we're blasting songs like Broccoli, iSpy, Ultimate, Water. Then, on the bus ride to meets, I have a separate playlist for that too, blasting just crazy pump up songs that get me and the boys ready- like I Like Tuh, Rolex, HUMBLE, Sandstrom, N... Friends in Paris, and Man of the Year. Now for the rest of the day before I race I have my headphones in, listening to my specifically made Pre Race Playlist, which is more my type of music, a little more relaxed, but just gets me focused and ready to go. Now after the race, If I have a bad race, I'll bring out the Feels playlist, which is a lot of pretty sad songs.