Katie Anderson has been running her entire life, and, this week, she was awarded for all those miles she has been put in when she signed a letter of intent to join the Tennessee Tech University Cross Country and Track teams.
“I started running track my freshman year in high school,” Anderson, who was also a member of the White County Warriorette Soccer team as well as a member of the school’s swim and cross-country teams, said. “But I’ve been running long distances, 5K’s and things, since I was 5 years old.”
Anderson hit a major highlight of her young career her junior season, when she qualified for the state cross country meet.
“State is a very big deal in cross country – it’s the top of the top,” she said.
Crossing the finish line knowing that her finishing time was good enough to qualify her for the top race was a feeling she will never forget.
“I think crossing that finish line and seeing my friends and family waiting for me and knowing that I accomplished a goal I wanted so badly was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced,” she said.
That amazing experience topped her list of athletic accomplishments - that is, until she got that call from the Tennessee Tech coaches.
“This is where I always wanted to go, but it was almost disbelief, though,” she said of the moment she knew she would be a Golden Eagle. “When you get the news that you’ve hoped to hear your whole life, it is exciting.”
Anderson, who plans to study engineering for music production, with a goal of creating and producing music and having the opportunity to travel as a music production engineer, said her aspirations are just to do her best and use this opportunity wisely.
“I am going to train hard for both myself and for the school,” she said.
Anderson knows the training will be different and more intense than the training she has experienced up to this point. Until now, she has had to be personally responsible for completing her daily workouts. However, when she gets to TTU, there will be a coach standing over her, pushing her to reach for higher goals and forcing her to step out of her comfort zones.
“I’m actually going to be able to be trained at the collegiate level,” she said. “I will be trained more than I ever have before.”
Anderson’s mother, Leighann, said she has no doubts her daughter will rise to the challenges that come with being a collegiate athlete.
“She loves being part of a team and is a great teammate, always trying to help others feel comfortable out there,” Leighann Anderson said, but added that her daughter’s biggest strength is her discipline. “She never stops training. Even through COVID, when she lost her track season, she just kept training.”
“My goals are for her to stay focused and be successful in both her athletics and her education,” Leighann Anderson continued. “This is all about her and her being the best that she can be in her sport - and get her education to have a healthy and successful life. I’m just so proud of her and thankful that God chose me to be her mom.”
Katie Anderson said that, while she has completed her high school cross country career and knows next fall she will be trading in the maroon and gray for TTU’s purple and gold, she still has goals to accomplish before she hangs up all of her Warriorette uniforms.
“I really want to beat the school record in high jump,” she said, referring to the existing record of five feet. “That’s been a goal of mine since I started track as a freshman.”
Leighann Anderson said she had hoped her daughter would break the record last year, but, when spring sports had their 2020 seasons cancelled because of COVID-19, she had to wait another year to try again.
While Katie Anderson has her fingers crossed that she gets one more chance to claim that record she covets, she knows her future is full of even bigger goals.
“I’m excited to start this new chapter of my life,” she said, right after she officially committed herself to being a Golden Eagle, “doing what I love at my dream school.”