Salute to Seniors: Kate Tugman

Name: Kate Tugman

School: Gorham High School

What was your most memorable race/meet?

I think I have to go with the Southern Maine Classic XC meet my Junior year. That was the first 5k of the season which was the true test to see if my anemia was gone, my summer training had worked, and if I was finally "a good runner" again (at least for my standards.) I had come off wins from the pre-season meets that were only 1.5 and 2.4 miles so I was going into this with big expectations. I won the junior/senior race with an 18:17 which put me second in Maine, only 2 seconds behind Sofie. I just remember being extremely happy and everyone was shocked. I knew from that meet on, I could be a force to be reckoned with and I should start to believe in myself more. This was also the meet that caught Florida State's attention.

Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

XC, 1mile, 2mile: Sofie Matson, Karley Piers, and Helen Shearer

800m: Anna Folley and Mia Claire-Kezal

(Love you guys, it's been so fun racing you all!!)

What was your greatest accomplishment?

My greatest meet accomplishment would probably have to be Indoor New England's this year. I placed in both the mile and 2 mile as well as qualified for Nationals in both of these events. I had also previously qualified for Nationals in the 5k and SMR so it felt surreal that I had qualified in 4 events. My biggest accomplishment overall, though, has got to be landing a scholarship from Florida State. I've wanted to go division 1 for athletics since I was 7 and saw my older cousin get a full ride to University of Iowa; I guess I'm still in shock that my longest dream came true.

If you could do it all over again what would you change about your xc/track&field career in high school?

I would have listened to Coach Tanguay earlier and got in contact with my current physical therapist/personal trainer. He's really helped me a lot this past year by giving me extra insight on mechanics, training, and keeping my body healthy. It's just always good to have that extra voice in your ear and knowledge as well as your coaches to give you an edge in how to train/treat your body. I wish I had him since freshmen year but I cannot complain with how my running career turned out in the end.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

So many, honestly. Freshmen and Sophomore year I was diagnosed with anemia and the doctor told me I would not be able to run well for those two years because getting my iron back up would take awhile and I would simply have no energy to race at a high level. I also struggled with stress reactions in both of my shins in my outdoor season of my junior year that lasted through my xc season of senior year so both of those seasons were horrible for me. Ive also dealt with a lack of mental toughness these past four years. It took a lot for me to get out of my head when I was racing so I could finally achieve my full potential. Although I am better at this (thanks to Deena Kastor's booklet Your Mind Run), I still struggle with it as I'm sure many runners do. I am grateful that I was healthy this past indoor season and was able to end senior year on a high note.

What will you miss the most?

I will miss my team a lot, especially many of my close friends that I will be 1,188 miles away from next year:( However, we will all have lots of fun together when I come back to visit over breaks!!) I will also miss the Maine running community; I've met so many amazing people from other teams.

What advice would you give to younger athletes?

Definitely work on getting out of your head like I did. That can really make or break someone's athletic career. I actually did a research project on this and studies show that 80% of athletes will never reach their full potential due to lack of mental strength. Also, don't let anyone bring you down. I listened to so many people telling me I was not good enough to be a state champion, go division 1, or even stay with the top pack of girls in an XC meet. But once I blocked out those comments and began to believe in myself, I proved those people wrong. It doesn't matter if you have zero supporters or a million because if you don't believe in yourself you're going to get no where.

What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?

I've been lucky to have three great coaches throughout my high school career that have not only helped me grow as an athlete but as a person as well. Coach Tanguay helped me realize my full potential, Coach Cat always believed I could do it (even when I made him put me in four events at like every meet), and Coach Karcanes really helped me become a better runner; not only did he help me with training but also with my mental strength. All of these coaches have been there for me through tough times and I will always be grateful for that.

How do you feel about missing your senior season due to the coronavirus?

I'm definitely disappointed as I'm sure all senior athletes are. I went through stages of being sad, then angry, and then sad again once I heard. I'm mostly bummed I won't get to have one last season with my amazing team. However, I still have some hope as Outdoor Nationals is not yet cancelled (and they're taking all 2020 Indoor qualifying times) so I'm hoping to go compete at that in the 5k, 2 mile, 1 mile, and SMR. I would be really happy if I got one more chance to run that relay with my girls. I'm also extremely grateful I have 4 more years of competing ahead of me.

What are you college plans?

I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to run xc and track for Florida State!! I will also be majoring in Psychology!

Who would you like to say thank you to?

I want to thank my parents for always supporting me and telling me that I was going to make it the Olympics even after I had a bad race. I want to thank my best friend Iris Kitchen for always being there for me; it's been amazing running alongside you these past seven years. I want to thank Sydney Connolly, Alyvia Caruso, and Emma Green for giving me an amazing relay that I've enjoyed being a part of. I want to thank Abby O'brien and Ryan Farr for always supporting me and especially my boyfriend, Andrew Farr for making me laugh when I fall yet always helping me get back up. I want to thank all the amazing people I've met and made friends with in the Maine running community. And lastly, I want to thank my coaches for giving me these opportunities and always believing in me.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Good luck to every one next year!! For all the Freshmen, Sophomores, and Juniors, I hope you have an amazing remainder of your high school athletic career. For all my seniors, if you're running in college, let's make the new competition scared and show em what we're made of; if you're not, then best of luck on your next stage of life:)

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