SIOUX CITY – It is something that North’s Kaitlyn Mulder has been chasing on the track for years.
The senior has been a constant at the state track and field meet over her four years running with the Stars, but she is still looking to medal in her signature event – the 400 meters.
Mulder is heading back to Drake Stadium in three events as she will run in the 200 meters, the 4x800 relay and the 400, where she had the fifth fastest time in Class 4A during last Thursday’s state qualifying meet. She ran 59.13 seconds on Thursday and has a season best of 58.97 to earn the Journal’s Metro Athlete of the Week honor.
“It became about how to attack (the 400) using her strength and how to build her confidence that she can go out faster, she can attack different parts of the race and still finish strong,” North Coach Abdier Marrero said. “She has an awesome goal of attacking the school record … and that is one she wants to hit. Knowing she has had a good, strong year, and this is the best she has looked in a 400 in a while.”
Mulder will be running the 400 at the state meet for the fourth straight year and believes she is as prepared as she can be for a race that is a sprint but with plenty of strategy mixed in.
“When I started running them I just ran them, so it has been different to figure out the actual thought behind them and how you are supposed to run them,” she said. “I have learned how you are supposed to pace them out. Get out hard, keep your pace, start to build up, and then finish with everything you have got left.”
Mulder finished 11th at state in the 400 as a freshman before taking 12th as a sophomore and ninth a year ago. That is why she is hungry to earn a state medal in her final trip around the Blue Oval in the event.
“The goal is to medal, I really hope I can medal,” she said.
Mulder also displayed her versatility in helping the Stars 4x800 relay team reach state.
“It is definitely different because this is the first year that I have run it and I only ran it once before districts,” she said. “It is a lot different than the (400) with the pacing.
“I talked to my coach (last) Monday about … and it kind of caught me by surprise because I wasn’t expecting him to say that we were going to try to do a 4x8.”
The 18-year-old is joined on the relay by fellow senior McKenzie Coyle, junior Brenda Phillips, sophomore Monica Olson and freshmen Emma Kelley and Kylie McElmeel.
“She only ran two 800s but she trained for them and that gave her confidence knowing that if I can run a fast 800 then I know I run a 60-second race no problem,” Marrero said.
Her speed is evident as her 200 time of 26.40 at the qualifying meet set her personal best.
As if a season of track wasn’t enough Mulder has always made sure her springs were plenty busy as she is also a key member of the North girls soccer team. The Stars are 7-6 this season and Mulder is tied for second on the team with 13 points.
“It is kind of tough sometimes but the coaches are really good about it,” said Mulder of the schedule juggling that is needed. “When there is something every day it can be a lot.”
The daughter of Terry and Lisa Mulder of Sioux City said this soccer season has been the most enjoyable of her career.
“I think the team chemistry is really good, and it is improving every year since my freshman year,” she said. “We have a pretty solid team this year. We have all been playing together for a while.”
Mulder enjoys both sports – she believes that soccer has played a key part in her conditioning and endurance -- but admits she is curious to see how she will improve on the track next year when she runs at Augustana University in Sioux Falls.
Adan Curiel, SSC … Curiel posted back-to-back 1-0 shutouts at the Class B Nebraska Boys State Soccer Championships to help the Cardinals reach the championship game for the second year in a row.
Max Murphy, SB-L … The junior qualified with the second-best time out of the qualifying meet in the 110 hurdles as well as reaching state in the 400 hurdles and the shuttle hurdle relay.