Catching Up with Top Returners: Kaele Lightfoot

-Athlete Name: Kaele Lightfoot

-School: Minerva High School

-Year of Graduation: 2013

-Best time in a 5K race and in which meet: 
18:48:11 at the 2010 Camebridge District meet

-Tell us how your summer training is going?
It's been a good summer training wise. I am putting in a lot of summer miles and I have ran in several road races this summer and ran good times in them. I am also adding in weight training this summer which has made me stronger, I think. 

-What are your goals for the upcoming season?
I want to make my senior year memorable. I am looking forward to winning our league meet (NBC) again this year. Our league meet is at my high school this year so winning that as a senior would be outstanding. Also hoping to repeat as champion in my county meet (Stark County) this season. I am hoping for a top 5 spot on the podium at the state meet this year and looking forward to having my best cross season.  

-How long have you been running and how did you get started?
I have been running cross country for 4 years. As an eighth grader I was recruited by the (then) cross country coaches, Tom and Vicki Stafford, who relentlessly encouraged me to come out for cross. As a sprinter in the track season, I thought they were crazy and swore I would never run cross country. After coming to a few summer practices and building a solid relationship with them and the team I decided to run for them. I owe my 4 years of accomplishments and my respect for the sport to them. 

-Will you be competing anywhere out of state this season?
During December I usually run indoor track so I havent put any thought into running in the Regional or National meets. This year I may continue training and compete in one or the other. 
-What is your favorite course to run in Ohio?
Pickerington North High School course. Although we haven't ran their in 2 years, it remains my favorite ever. It was fast and the woods are just beautiful. 

-What is the toughest course to run in Ohio?
The Dover Invitational course is the hardest to run in my opinion. It's a true cross country course: flat in some places, lots of hills, in the woods, and spectator friendly. It's early in the season for our team and helps me prepare for the upcoming meets. 

-What meet during the regular season do you put extra emphasize on to compete well at?
Stark County. In the County meet all divisions run in the same race and I love being able to represent my small Division 2 school against the Division 1 teams. Last year I was the 2nd girl from my high school to ever win the overall and I am looking forward to defending that title this year. 

-What is your favorite cross country race so far in your high school career?
My favorite race was as a freshman- regionals at Pickerington North High School. It was pouring down rain, muddy and the woods were like a huge lake. I was ranked 5th going in. I was 3rd going into and coming out of the woods- I took the turn and ran down 2 girls on the straightaway and shocked everyone by winning the Regional. I became Minerva's first regional winner ever that day. It was a real honor. 

-Favorite cross country memory? 
Taking 4th and earning the last team spot for state as a freshman at Pickerington after beating our league rival Carrollton. 
-When you are not running what is your favorite thing to do?
Spending time with my family. I have 5 brothers and 3 sisters and family is important to me. They come to all my races and support me in all I do.  We took a 2 week vacation to the beach in North Carolina this June and I realized that might be our last "family" vacation before I go away to college. I just want to spend every minute with them before I graduate- it will be hard to leave them behind. 

-Favorite quote?
"Motivation gets you started. Desire keeps you going."

-What's on your Ipod when you go out for runs?
Everything from Luke Bryan to Kid Cudi. I run so many miles that I just change it up often. Some of the music on there is old school and some stuff nobody but me would like. Music definitely motivates me when I run. 

-What professional athlete would you most like to meet?
Allyson Felix or Bernard Lagat. She runs a nasty 400 and has been my role model for many, many years of running track. Lagat is just incredible- one of the best distance runners