Katie Kang breaks national records, makes school history

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Entering the Townsend Harris community, the one mile run is a freshman’s worst nightmare. Four laps, four hundred meters a piece, and the dreaded mile is complete. Four years ago, senior Katie Kang went through what everybody at Townsend Harris has gone through: running her first mile in a more than respectable time of eight minutes. Little did she know that four years later she would be a city, state, and possibly national champion race walker, with the seventh fastest 1500 meter racewalk time in American high school history.

Katie has been victorious at the PSAL City Championships in 2012 and 2013, and won the outdoor City Championships in 2012 and the New York State Indoor Championships in 2013.

The list of accomplishments in the 1500 meter racewalk goes on and on for Katie, but the biggest accomplishment of her high school career to this point was one of her most recent. At the 110th PSAL City Indoor Championships, Katie set a precedent for all future PSAL racewalkers, becoming the first to ever eclipse the seven minute barrier. Not only did she break seven minutes, but she walked her way to a time of 6:44, becoming the seventh fastest in American high school history.

“It’s surreal. I still can’t believe it…Coming down the final straightaway and seeing my time on the clock, it was just unbelievable” said Katie. Showing great pride in representing her school, she said, “I felt proud that I was able to keep racewalk as an event that Townsend Harris will always be proud of since the previous record was set by our alumnus.”

Only a year ago, Katie became a national star when she placed second in the nation. “I remember asking Mr. Connor, is there a chance of me being in the top 6? And he said ‘You can be in the top 3.’” From thinking top 6, to top 3, to coming in 2nd, to being the favorite to take home the big prize at this year’s national championships, Katie Kang has come a long way since that first mile run freshman year.

Fellow captain of the girls track team, senior Klaudia Garncarz had nothing but praise for her friend and teammate. Klaudia said, “On behalf of myself and the team we are all incredibly proud. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind she could accomplish all she has after witnessing the hard work she put in during practice and meets.” The same sentiment was echoed throughout the school, as fellow senior Anthony Kissoon said, “I think it’s so cool that she’s breaking records and I know she’ll do well at Nationals again.”

“Katie is one of the easiest athletes I’ve ever coached. She does everything she’s asked. She has the determination and will power to overcome the rigors necessary to get to her level. I saw on her face, at cities, when she broke the national record by seventeen seconds, there was nothing stopping her,” said math teacher and track coach Timothy Connor.