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Kemper finishes 2nd in State Cross Country
(Posted: Nov. 19, 2010)
When Susie Kemper starts running from the line, she starts with her left foot. It is one of many steps she takes, but it’s the first that counts.
Coming in second place in the recent UIL Cross Country State Championship Meet with a time of 11:42, Miss Kemper thinks it’s her start that kept her from taking first place.
She says of first-place winner Katie Rahula of Lovejoy High School, who finished 11 seconds sooner, “She kind of let me go out first, then came up to take the lead. If I could do it again, I probably would have let her take the lead, then passed her later on. Mentally, I didn’t do it that day.”
Miss Kemper’s track record is impressive. In 2009, she earned fifth place in the UIL Cross Country State Meet, as well as third place in the 800-meter run.
She trains for competition year round. During the school year, she runs during her practice times and on weekends when she has no other events. During the summer, she stays in top form, running at her favorite spot -- Brushy Creek Park in Cedar Park. Susie often runs with her father, Ron, who is a certified United States Track and Field coach. She keeps it music-free, but enjoys running with other people because she enjoys the conversation. Miss Kemper was the only girl participating from Liberty Hill this year at the state championship meet.
When she talks, her girlish voice almost hides the seriousness with which she approaches running.
“The hardest part of the race is when you’re three-quarters of the way done. You’re over halfway, but you’re still not done,” she said.
During the race, Miss Kemper said she focuses on, “...how much I have left, am I keeping the right pace, doing checks and balances on my form, and just staying relaxed.”
She said she keeps her eyes on the ground because, “...it’s important to do in cross country when faced with uneven footing.”
Rough terrain is an issue Miss Kemper has faced before. Last year, during the Regional Meet, Miss Kemper took off from the line, and 100 meters into the race, her shoe fell off.
“When it happened, I just couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I was stunned. I thought about turning around and getting it, but the moment had already passed. I had this big blob of people just looking at me, so I just kept running.”
She finished the race in the top 10, which qualified her for the state championships.
Currently a junior at Liberty Hill High School, Miss Kemper has no immediate plans to stop running. Her passion for running has earned her the nickname, “Cruisin’ Susan” among her classmates.
Through running and her membership in the National Honor Society, Miss Kemper said she hopes to receive a scholarship to college. She wants to continue running and working toward her career goal to be a coach.
“I like running and I like competition. That’s why I want to be a coach when I grow up -- oh wait, I mean, when I get older,” she said.