By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
Katie Lane began running cross country when she was in junior high, but did not fall in love with the sport until her freshman year.
It was only two seasons later, when Lane was a junior, that she found herself falling out of love with the sport.
Despite the fact she won her third consecutive league championship.
The joy was gone.
In its place were pressures that she put on herself to live up to expectations.
To be better than the previous year or the last race.
To achieve more.
Almost as if she was running for other people instead of herself.
It took a little bit of time, but she eventually had a revelation fall onto her heart.
“I can just be me,” Lane said she realized.
The self-imposed pressures did not need to exist.
She did not have to prove herself to anyone else.
She was more than just a runner.
She was a daughter, sister, student, friend, cheerleader.
“I found myself during time with my church youth group, and I realized that I am perfect just being myself,” Lane said. “I didn’t need to be anything else other than just me.”
Now a senior, Lane is running with a smile on her face again and continuing to lead a running resurgence at Mogadore.
Lane has qualified for the OHSAA state championships all three years of her high-school career and has helped transform the Wildcats’ cross country and track and field programs to the top of their regions in both sports.
“Over her high-school career, Katie has grown to become a runner who is not only after personal goals, but also strives to lead her teams to new levels,” Mogadore cross country head coach Diana Morris said. “She also has grown to understand the importance of continuing to enjoy her sport and avoid burnout.”
Lane has also learned how to race.
“I used to just run and didn’t have a plan. Now, I go into races knowing what kind of race I want to run,” Lane said. “I like to start out fast, then find a good pace I know I can keep for at least two miles, then I push myself, both physically and mentally, during the last mile.”
Lane said she believes the final mile of any race is primarily mental.
“I think there is always that feeling that you want to just stop the race, but it takes mental strength to keep going, to keep pushing. For me, I find strength in knowing that Jesus is running with me, my team is running with me and my family is running with me.”
It is all part of the “PMA” — Positive Mental Attitude — that Morris has helped foster into Lane’s in-race midnight.
“Coach Morris is a great coach, and I have adopted her PMA to my running. She is never negative and always very encouraging and that has helped me,” Lane said.
In Lane’s three appearances at the Division III state championships, she placed 24th as a freshman in 2020, 31st as a sophomore in 2021 and 28th last season as a junior.
Her individual success has coincided with her ability to also grow into a leader with a strong voice off the course.
“I was privileged to hear her speak at length about her faith and how it ties into running at a Ladies Breakfast this summer,” Morris said. “It brought tears to my eyes to hear her describe all that she has learned and her goals going forward this year. I thought to myself, ‘She gets it’!”
Lane’s competitive spirit and accountability to her teammates will always inspire her to excel, but she also knows that her final race times do not completely define her.
“There is a lot more to me than just being a runner.”
And that is exactly what has allowed Lane to become the best runner.