Athlete Of The Week: Owen Kathriner

There are over 60 athletes on the boys’ cross country team, but according to head coach Wayne Baldwin, few have had to overcome the challenges Owen Kathriner, freshman, has. He is not on varsity and has yet to earn a medal, but his persistence and character have earned him a spot as TKC’s Athlete of the Week.

“He started, like most freshmen, with very little training, so it was a struggle,” Baldwin said. “Trying to get into shape is hard for anybody.”

Cross country is Owen’s first experience on an athletic team, but as a teammate his peers never have anything bad to say about him. On the other hand, the difficulty he initially faced may have been too much for Kathriner without the support he said his teammates gave him in return.

“I had already thought about cross country just as something to do, but some of my friends really convinced me, so I tried out the first day and kept with it ever since,” Kathriner said.

Everyone on the team agrees it is hard to succeed as a freshman athlete, but when Kathriner fell within the first week of school and fractured both his wrists, his coaches said things became even more difficult.

“Honestly, at that point I thought he was going to say, ‘I can’t do this,’” Baldwin said.

Kathriner, however, said the thought never occurred to him, and after a brief break from running he was back at it despite the casts on each of his arms. Baldwin explained the rules on casts in cross country are fairly loose and it was only mentioned by an official at one meet in which Kathriner was still allowed to compete.

“I enjoy cross country, and I wasn’t going to let two broken arms stop me,” Kathriner said.

Kathriner recently had one of his casts removed, but the other has been with him for nearly the entire season. Yet, he remains optimistic about his growth and future in the sport as he and his teammates prepare for the Suburban South Conference Meet Wednesday, Oct. 15.  No matter how it finishes he and his coaches agree the season has been an enormous accomplishment.

“My favorite part of cross country is the feeling you get after a meet or a really hard practice,” Kathriner said. “It makes you feel successful.”