A-K Valley girls athlete of the week: Knoch’s Yumiko Kuo

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Wednesday, October 6, 2021 | 10:23 AM


Yumiko Kuo

Class: Senior

School: Knoch

Sport: Cross Country

Report card: Kuo posted a time of 22 minutes, 13 seconds and won by 7 seconds at a tri-meet with Riverview and Freeport on Sept. 28, in Oakmont. She helped the Knoch girls win the tri-meet and move to 8-0. She finished 22nd at the WPIAL Class AA meet last year. Kuo grew up in Toronto before moving to the Knoch School District as an eighth grader.

How did it feel to help the team win a big section meet against Riverview?

It felt really good. Two years ago when I first joined the varsity team, it was a big deal because it was Knoch’s redemption year against Riverview and I came in third, but I got disqualified (for running outside the course), so this was my personal redemption year.

What’s it like to be on a team with so many strong runners?

At first it was intimidating, but it’s really nice to have people at different speeds that are very strong. Most teams have their No. 1 and No. 2 runners, but on our team anyone could be the No. 1 or No. 2 runner at a certain time. It depends on the race and how they are feeling that day.

What’s the feeling around the team as it closes in on its third consecutive section title?

It means a lot, especially for our four senior girls. When we first came to varsity, we had won one section title, but half of the points were due to seniors that graduated. Last year was our year to prove that we could be the reason, and this year was about staying on top and getting one more for our last year.

What have you improved upon from last year to this year?

Each year we do a mile test to start the year to get a baseline starting out. Then we do another one in the middle and one at the end. That helps us see that we are getting better.

What are your goals going into the WPIAL meet?

Last year I would’ve qualified for states in a normal year, but due to covid they took less people. This year I’m not just aiming to make it, I want to be well into the top 20. It really means a lot to our team to make it back to states, because we missed it last year.

What got you interested in cross country?

Growing up in Canada I started running cross country in kindergarten and have been running ever since. I did every single sport I could, but I found out even when I was playing other sports the thing I was always best at was running. When I transferred to Knoch, what really made me stick with it was the team. They made me feel like I was a part of a family and that we would achieve our goals together.

What’s your favorite school subject?

I would say history. It’s interesting to learn about the past. It’s not just about learning history, but the lessons that come with it and also about some cool people around you. I feel like it is a gateway to other topics.

What are your hobbies outside of running?

I like the arts a lot. I will try almost any kind of art whether that be painting, drawing or crafts.

Jerin Steele is a freelance writer

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