Katelyn Tuohy discusses racing against professionals, coming back from injury and high school records.
North Rockland High School (Thiells, N.Y.) junior Katelyn Tuohy was named the 2018–19 Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year on Thursday morning. The award marks her second Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award and fourth national Gatorade Player of the Year award.
Tuohy was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated in July 2018. This fall, she wrapped up a cross country season in which she won the Class A individual state championship and won the NXN New York Regional championships before breaking her own course record to go back-to-back at the Nike Cross Country Nationals Championship.
Tuohy is in the middle of an indoor campaign where she's run 4:39.15 for the mile, 2:48.77 for 1,000 meters and broke the U.S. high school 3,000 meter record in 9:01.81. She is slated to run in the high school girl's mile at the 2019 Millrose Games on Saturday at The New Balance Track & Field Center Armory in New York City.
Sports Illustrated caught up with Tuohy for a brief chat before Saturday's race:
Sports Illustrated: You were last year’s Gatorade Female High School Athlete of the Year. With all these Gatorade Awards stacking up, what makes this one special for you?
Katelyn Tuohy: I really think this one is special because this cross-country season didn’t go as planned. I got injured so this award really highlights not only my physical battle on the cross-country courses but my mental battle on coming out strong. I really think overcoming adversity and everything really touches this award and shows everything I accomplished this year to get it.
SI: The season didn’t go as planned? But you still won a second Nike Cross Country National Championship title. When did things start to go right?
KT: To be honest, I feel like think things never went as planned after my injury. I never really got right. At NXN, I was still struggling a little with it, so I feel like I wasn’t totally healthy when I wanted to race but I was healthy enough to gut it out and still win.
SI: What was the injury?
KT: I had some tendonitis in my knee and affected how I was running and eventually came to a point where I couldn’t even run.
SI: Are you healthy right now? How are you feeling?
KT: I’m feeling pretty well. Every now and then I get a little minor thing and I go the trainer. I think the only real negative is the weather affecting training.
SI: You're getting ready for the Millrose Games on Saturday. What is the goal for this weekend’s mile?
KT: There isn’t really a goal. I’m looking forward to getting down there, having fun, watching the pros race and having a good time.
SI: You just ran against professionals in a 3,000 meter race at the Armory, what was your big takeaway from that race and breaking a U.S. high school record in the process?
KT: Yeah, the goal going into that race was to see what it’s like running against the pros. It was a real learning experience and I’m really glad I had that opportunity to go out there, race at the Armory, experience what it’s like running with professionals and see how I adapt to running with that type of field.
SI: So aside from that race, when you go up against high school girls, it’s been a while since you lost. People forget that you didn’t win the high school mile at the Millrose Games last year. Have you forgotten what losing feels like?
KT: No, in practice I’m used to working out with the boys and I definitely know what it’s like to get that point where someone’s better than you. It’s not anything different—after the pro race, I definitely still reminded of what it’s like.
SI: After that race, I saw that you said it's easier to run against people who are faster than you. Is there anything you find hard from racing against high school runners?
KT: I probably meant that it’s hard running alone in high school races when you’re at a county meet or something and there’s girls in the field who aren’t to my level. It is difficult to run fast times on your own.
SI: You’ve broken a lot of Mary Cain’s records, are there any record left that really want for your junior year?
KT: For junior year no, but in the future I definitely want to run a really fast time in the 1,500 and the mile. If I can get under 4:30 and maybe run, I think she ran 4:28 a few years back, that would be a pretty good accomplishment. Right now my goal isn't to break records but to test my abilities and run as fast as I can.