It would be a stretch to call it adversity, but Pomperaug junior Kate Wiser was not used to having to chase down runners in her backyard.
The favorite to sweep every race she ran in finished second to Greenwich’s Mari Noble at the State Open, then third at New Englands. With four races in four weeks, a reboot was clearly required for what lay ahead.
The three-week break did wonders for Wiser, who finished fourth at the Foot Locker Northeast Regional in New York to reach nationals for a second straight season. That race takes place on Saturday at Balboa Park in San Diego; the event starts at 12:15 p.m. EST.
Finishing the Connecticut part of her schedule ended in frustration, but a trip to Van Cortlandt Park brought the best in the standout.
“She was obviously really disappointed,” said her coach Mark Goodwin. “But we tried to be realistic and say it’s hard running — the SWC, Class L, Open and New Englands — four races in four weeks, no matter who you are or what age group you’re in. That’s taxing; it’s a matter of knowing when to pick your spots and how to run races. It was a learning experience.”
— Ryan Lacey (@RyanLacey11) October 26, 2019
Wiser finished seventh at nationals last year to earn All-American status.
It was a commanding rebound performance for Wiser in Van Cortlandt Park on Nov. 30. She led the race after a mile and her time of 17:38 was 14 seconds quicker than her fifth-place effort a year ago. The top 10 runners from each of the four regions across the country qualified for the prestigious event.
“I was pretty happy, I definitely felt strong in that race,” Wiser said. “I was leading after the first mile, which was weird with (race winner) Marlee (Starliper) and Sydney (Masciarelli). They went ahead obviously on the hills, but that felt like a good race.”
“She just had a lot of confidence, especially from running there the last two years,” Goodwin said. “Everything was set up in terms of strategy, she knew she was rested from New Englands. She had three weeks to settle down and get on a specific training just for that race. She was very mentally and physically refreshed.”
Wiser is looking forward a number of things about the weekend in San Diego, including racing the star-studded field.
“Meeting all the girls and running with them and meeting professional athletes,” Wiser said. “They give us a lot of good advice, and we get a ton of (gear) so that’s exciting. I’m more prepared this time, I know what to expect; I shouldn’t be as stressed about everything.”
A pair of boys runners — Gavin Sherry of Conard and Aidan Puffer of Manchester — will also be making the trip out to California for the race. The boys event is scheduled for 1 p.m. EST.