"I Found Out I Liked It" - Kaia Sueker's Running Journey

Kaia Sueker of Marshall Class of 2019

Personal Records

800m - 2:19.80

1600m - 5:10.37

5K (xc) - 18:24.80

State XC 2017 - 51st; Our team finished 7th in AA.

State XC 2016 - 28th; Our team finished 4th in AA.

State XC 2015 - 27th; Our team finished 2nd in AA.

State Track 2017 - 1600m, 12th; 4x800 5th

State Track 2016 - 1600m, 15th; 4x800 12th (our team dropped the baton)

What sports did you grow up playing and which ones did you play in high school?

I grew up playing elementary school volleyball, JO volleyball, basketball, AAU basketball, softball, golf, and I also was in almost all types of dance and gymnastics.  As far as important value of other sports, I feel that my involvement in other sports has taught me the value of hard work and determination; mental toughness; the importance of teamwork; sportsmanship; and giving full effort.  I love to compete.  

How many letters have you earned?

In high school, I play/run:

Cross Country: 3 varsity letters (I lettered as a freshman, sophomore, and this year as a junior)

Volleyball: 2 varsity letters (I lettered as a freshman and sophomore.) I am not playing volleyball my junior year.

Basketball: 2 varsity letters so far (I lettered as a freshman and sophomore.)  I am the point guard on our team.  We made it to the state tournament my freshman year.

Track & Field: 3 varsity letters so far (I lettered as an 8th grader, freshman, and sophomore.)

Why did you become a runner?

I started running differently than many.  I do not come from a family of runners.  Toward the end of my 7th grade year, my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  Instead of doing traveling softball that year, I decided to join our middle school track program as it was held at my school.  My family would not be able to transport me places with my mom's illness, so track was a convenient option.  I found out I liked it.  I never went back to softball.  I ran varsity track as an 8th grader. 

The summer before my freshman year, the Cross Country coach asked me if I might consider running cross country part-time, around varsity volleyball.  I decided to give it a try.  My freshman and sophomore years, I did most of my CC training on my own.  I ran with the team over the summer, and then during HS volleyball season I would primarily run/train on my own.  My dad would bike with me, or I would meet Coach Sample after volleyball practice to do a CC workout.  

How did it feel to win the conference meet this year as a team?  What happened during that race? 

It felt great to win the conference meet!  Winning the conference is one of our team goals for the season. The St. Peter course is very tough.  I think it prepares us well mentally and physically for sections at Gale Woods. 

How did things go in the Section 2AA Meet this year? 

Our team qualified for the state meet, and I finished in 7th place in the meet.  I like to go out hard so what I did is to sprint the first 50 meters or so until I was in the lead. Then I led the race for the first 2 miles.  Unfortunately the wind got to me and I had to slow down a bit. Then shortly after 2 miles Heidi Schmidt of Willmar put in a little surge and then went on to win the race.  I tried to stick with the next group of eight or so girls and then got a second wind with about 800 meters left and finished strong.  Kaleesa Houston of Waconia finished second and the top three teams finished like this:  Willmar 50, Marshall 53, and Shakopee 84.

What Marshall runners from the past have inspired you as a runner?

Jackie Turner and Claire Boersma have inspired me greatly. They've been extraordinary examples of what it means to be a great role model and leader.