Glen Burnie's Sloan seems driven to run Cross country: Gophers senior Katie Sloan took three state titles last year, her first in running. This fall, she's raised her goals higher.

October 15, 1998|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

Some clouds were out Tuesday afternoon with a slight nip in the air as Glen Burnie senior runner Katie Sloan returned from a 4-mile run at practice, looking as if she could easily go another 4.

"Perfect running weather," she said.

Sloan has had a lot of those days.

After earning first-team All-Metro honors with the help of a fifth-place showing in the state championship meet last fall, her first season of cross country, Sloan went on to capture two state titles (1,600 and 3,200 meters) during the indoor track season and another one (3,200 meters) outdoors in the spring.

Those standards have helped her prepare for this year, which carries loftier goals.

"I'd like to win a state title in cross country, keep my titles in track, and go on to run for a Division I college. Those are pretty steep goals, but I think I can do it," she said.

Sloan is doing everything she can to achieve them. She runs 20 to 25 miles a week, eats the right foods (although she confesses to sneaking a cookie here and there) and went into the cross country season already in racing shape after attending two running camps in August.

"I learned about hill technique, pumping your arms, and other form, what to eat, when to eat, stretching. The camps really helped," she said.

She has won her last two races -- the Anne Arundel County Invitational and the Meade Autumn Classic -- and with county, region and state championships fast approaching, she's finding a higher gear.

Ask Glen Burnie coach Tony Benicewicz what sets Sloan apart from most other runners, and the answer comes back quickly: "Focus."

He adds: "Katie works hard all year long and is very serious about running. She knows what she has to do to win, what to eat and getting the right sleep before a race. She's also really slight, about 5-2 and maybe 95 pounds, which helps her. She's about as light as you can be and still be strong enough to be a good runner."

Come race day, Sloan likes to take charge immediately and challenge opposing runners to catch her.

"A good start is always a good thing," she said. "You need to get right out there and show them you're not afraid to take the lead. It can be intimidating."

Sloan played soccer and softball before running took over her spare time on a full-time basis. She was a standout right from the start in the ninth grade, setting the freshman school record in the indoor mile with a time of 5: 18.

A lot of her success comes from her competitive nature. On days she doesn't feel like waking up and running, she'll still be running.

"I just think how some other girls are going to be getting up running so they'll beat me," she said. "I like to work hard and don't like to be beat. Even in practice, I always like to stay first. Whatever I do, I try to stick with it and be successful. My mom and dad have always encouraged me to do my best."

She's also quick to credit the good coaching she's received from Benicewicz and track coach Aaron Walker, along with all the support and push from her teammates.

Sloan, a writer on the school newspaper and the historian of the National Honor Society, hits the books with the same enthusiasm she has for running. She carries a 3.7 grade-point average and is considering business or journalism as possible college majors.

Pub Date: 10/15/98

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