TRACK : Hursey develops into elite distance runner during career at Syracuse

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Katie Hursey only started competing in track and field at North Carroll High School (Md.) to stay in shape for soccer. When she started having success, her allegiances switched.But that was only the start.‘I really fell in love with it once I came to college, being around everyone on our team who loves it,’ she said.Now a record-holding, fifth-year senior at Syracuse, Hursey has enjoyed a historically successful career with the Orange. At last weekend’s Larry Ellis Invitational in Princeton, N.J., Hursey finished first in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:16.57. The distance runner holds the school record in the event, running it in 10:08.44 at the preliminary round of the 2011 NCAA outdoor championships.Hursey said she wants to break the record again this year. When the Orange travels to Philadelphia this week for the Penn Relays, Hursey will stay in Syracuse to prepare for her next chance to break the record at the Big East championships from May 4-6.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘It’s pretty neat,’ she said of having a Syracuse school record. ‘I hope to get it again this year. They’re always getting improved on, so it’s nice to have one.’Hursey said winning the event at the Larry Ellis Invitational has boosted her confidence. In preparation for the conference championships, Hursey said she needs to continue working hard in practice and maintaining the right mindset.In last year’s Big East championship, Hursey finished second and senior Heather Stephens placed third, both just under five seconds behind Connecticut’s Meghan Cunningham.‘I think we have the motivation from last year because both of us know we can be the best,’ Stephens said.If Hursey proves herself as the top steeplechase runner in the conference, the victory will serve as reassurance that she pursued the right sport out of high school.Despite her lack of track experience, Hursey excelled as a runner immediately.Hursey showed she was a raw talent and won Maryland state championships in a multiple events. She also caught the eye of Syracuse head coach Chris Fox.‘She didn’t know anything about the sport,’ Fox said. ‘There was something about her being so inexperienced, but being so good, that was appealing.’The support of the Syracuse coaching staff and her teammates made the transition in college much easier, Hursey said. Under their direction, Hursey has made incredible strides in her time with the Orange.‘Oh, my gosh, I’ve improved so much,’ Hursey said. ‘I’ve accomplished things I never would’ve thought possible coming in.’Fox said the distance runner has enhanced her skills each year, from handling the rigors of practice to taking better care of her body. But he knows she has plenty of room for improvement.Fox said if Hursey runs like she did at Princeton, she is capable of winning the Big East championship and qualifying for the NCAA Championships. Fox said she needs to stay out in front, be patient for the first five laps and then use her strength and hurdling ability to take over the last half-mile of the steeplechase.Aside from earning another shot at a national title, Hursey has her eyes set on something she has wanted her entire college career. Last year, she was named second team All-American in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, but she isn’t going to settle for that.‘Hopefully I can be a real All-American this year,’ Hursey [email protected]center_img Published on April 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Phil: [email protected] | @PhilDAbblast_img

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