Hampton freshman runner Fish off to fast start

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Saturday, October 9, 2021 | 11:01 AM


Hampton’s Kevyn Fish proudly held out her left hand and showed her dad the “6:22” written on her palm.

Fish had just completed a mile run as part of the school’s sixth-grade Greek Olympics and wanted to remember her time. So she jotted it down.

“I was like, ‘I think is a good time, but I’m not exactly sure,’ ” said Fish, now a freshman on the Hampton girls cross country team. “I remember coming home that day. I said, ‘Dad, I ran this time.’ He said, ‘There is no way.’ “

“I told her, ‘I don’t think that’s right,’ ” Ken Fish said.

Now a ninth-grader, Fish is continuing to leave people shaking their heads.

The 14-year-old Fish has been the Talbots’ top finisher in every meet this season, placing 12th out of 215 Class AAA runners at the Red, White & Blue Classic on Sept. 11 at White Oak Park — in her first-ever varsity event — and fifth out of 214 Division II runners at a muggy Boardman Invitational one week later in Youngstown, Ohio.

She was second overall among 25 runners in tri-meet wins over North Hills and Shaler on Sept. 16, and was the Talbots’ top runner against North Allegheny and Pine-Richland.

Fish, who comes from a family of runners, began to take the sport seriously after placing 14th among all females — as an 11-year-old — in the 2018 Hampton Firecracker 5K.

“I ended up doing surprisingly well,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh, cool. I’m going to do distance.’”

The next year, she took fourth among all female Firecracker runners — at age 12.

With her increased dedication came dramatic improvement. She was a star on the Hampton Middle School cross country team and last December she placed 14th out of 159 runners in the 13-14-year-old division at the 2020 USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships at Paris, Ky.

“She’s a very strong athlete, and she definitely has a strong mental toughness,” Hampton girls coach Heather Dietz said. “She is so talented. … She has a strong base, and I’ve enjoyed watching her train and race so far.”

Fish posted her best time this season, 18 minutes, 51 seconds, at the Red, White & Blue Classic and will compete with her teammates at the WPIAL Class AAA cross country meet Oct. 28 at Cal (Pa.) with an eye toward earning a berth to the PIAA championships.

“In terms of looking at her performance, as long as she stays healthy and strong and continues working, I definitely think that (states) is an attainable goal for her as a freshman,” Dietz said.

The 5-foot-3 Fish, who runs about 35 miles a week, said her primary goal is to lower her personal best time to 18:23, the recruitment standard for the Air Force Academy, to which she hopes to receive an appointment. Her older sister, Kennedy, is a freshman at the Colorado Springs, Colo., school.

Kevyn Fish is a cadet with Civil Air Patrol, a civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force. This past summer, she attended Cadet Training School at Fort Indiantown Gap, about 15 miles northeast of Hershey. The cadets, aged 12-16, underwent intensive training while staying in barracks for their week-long “encampment.”

“We worked on drill and leadership and talked about aerospace,” Fish said.

When Fish was running the 3.1-mile Boardman Invitational in 85-degree heat, she recalled her grueling week at Fort Indiantown GAP.

“Encampment was somewhat of a military bootcamp,” she said, “and Boardman reminded me of it a bit because of the heat and the constant (feeling that) you’ve got to keep going even though you are on the verge of passing out.”

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