Running With Kate Niehaus

Feb. 8, 2010

Senior captain Kate Niehaus enters her final season on The Farm in 2010. The Coulumbia, S.C. native was a member of the 2007 NCAA title cross country team for Stanford. More recently, Niehaus was the MPSF Champion at 5,000 meters as well as qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championships at the same distance. Niehaus also excels in the classroom was she has carried a GPA above 4.0 during her 3+ years at Stanford. In the fall, she earned the NCAA Elite 88 Award as the top student at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Niehaus recently took a moment to answer some questions from

The women's distance program has been tremendously successful during your time at Stanford, do you have a favorite memory or memories?

It's hard to pinpoint my favorite memory. Obviously being part of the national championship cross-country team my sophomore year (2007) was an amazing experience. I've realized since then how much has to come together to achieve something like that. But mostly the simple, everyday experiences with my teammates come to mind when I think back--things like 12-mile long runs up in Antelope Valley in Mammoth Lakes, sitting in the ice tubs at Hayward Field in Oregon after Pac-10s, going on adventures on the cool-down after a great race, making ridiculous movies, cooking team meals together...

Do you see yourself as a leader of the team now, especially with the graduation of so many talented runners over the past couple of years?

I definitely try to lead by example in practice every day. As you said, I've been lucky to have been on the team with many amazing runners, all with different styles of leadership, so I've been able to see what seems to work really well. I try to remember my own experiences and use that to help the other women with whatever they are going through. I don't want them to repeat my same mistakes. I'm also a captain on the track team this year, and it will be fun to have a more formalized leadership role. The track team is very large and encompasses many different event groups, so we are really working this year to integrate everyone and to make sure that we see ourselves as a cohesive, powerful unit.

How has the transition to a new coach (Jason Dunn) been since he began at the beginning of the 2008 cross country season?

Working with Jason has been really great. My first two years at Stanford I had some trouble learning how to train with a new program and such talented teammates. I had felt like I had finally figured out how to make the training my own when we heard that Peter (our previous coach) was leaving, so I was a bit apprehensive about what a new coach would bring. The training and approach with Jason have indeed been very different, and I think it has worked well for me. Jason keeps good tabs on how we are doing and really has the big picture of the entire season in mind when he plans our workouts. He also emphasizes the mental/emotional energy side of running, which I think is really important. I'm excited to work with him for another year.

You were the 2009 MPSF Champion in the indoor 5,000 meters and an NCAA qualifier in the outdoor 5,000 meters, do you have an even bigger goal for 2010?

I have definitely set my sights higher for these upcoming indoor and outdoor seasons. I am excited to put in the training and to compete to the best of my ability, and I know that if I do that, really good results will come out of it.

What did winning the Elite 88 Award as the top student at the NCAA Cross Country Championships mean to you?

I was very honored to receive the Elite 88 Award. It was a type of recognition that I hadn't ever expected.

You are above a 4.0 student, majoring in biomechanical engineering, what are your plans for after graduation?

I just recently was accepted into the Bioengineering co-term program here at Stanford, so I will be around here for at least one more year to get my master's. After that, who knows! I've thought about a wide range of possibilities--from working at a biotech/medical device company, to medical school, to getting a PhD. My interests are still pretty broad, so we'll see!

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