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Kurpius encouraging G-K classmates to come out for cross country

August 18, 2011
Genoa-Kingston High School

Genoa-Kingston junior Renae Kurpius (second from left) runs sprints at cross country practice on Aug. 11 at Genoa-Kingston High School. (Kyle Bursaw – kbursaw@daily-chronicle.com)
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GENOA – Genoa-Kingston cross country coach Kate Underwood wouldn’t forget about summer training in her ninth year as the Cogs head coach.

But just in case Underwood was getting a little forgetful, Renae Kurpius was there to remind her.

“She’s very disciplined,” Underwood said. “She’ll be the first to remind me of our summer training runs.

“She’ll check in with me through out the year, and be like, ‘Hey, were having summer training runs for cross country right?’ She’s good at keeping in contact with other runners about that summer training stuff.”

The junior simply couldn’t wait to get a jump start on the 2011 season.

In 2010, she qualified for sectionals for the second time in as many years at Genoa-Kingston, but wasn’t exactly happy with the amount of improvement she made after a standout freshman season.

“I was glad to make it back to sectionals. I would’ve liked to get my time down a little more,” Kurpius said. “I remembered how badly I wanted to get my time down. So I just focused on just running and working hard.”

So during the summer, she led her teammates in workouts, schooling them on the different aspects of cross country and how to best run the three-mile race.

With practice under way, Kurpius and her team have a new dilemma – only four runners are out for the team. Without a fifth runner, the Cogs are ineligible to score as a team in meets. Only individual results will count.

So Kurpius, a student council member at the school, has taken it upon herself to try publicize Genoa-Kingston cross country to her classmates. She tries to get new runners to go out for the team, and convince a few runners from previous years to give the sport another chance.

“When people hear that you’re running cross country, their immediate response is ‘Oh my gosh, you’re running so far,’” Kurpius said.

“I just try to explain to them that you’re not going full speed that whole time. For the ones that have done it before, I just try to explain to them that it’s fun, you’ve done it in the past and we’d really like them back. I just try to talk to them to see what’s holding them back.”

Even though her team might not have the depth to compete with bigger schools, Underwood knows that she’s lucky to have a runner like Kurpius.

“She’s a great kid,” Underwood said. “She’s definitely very motivated. There might be a little bit of frustration that’ll provide her with an extra push this year.”

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