Now in her waning months as a South Whidbey High School cross country and track star, senior Katy Gordon has a few things on her mind.
Which comes as no surprise to her friends, for Gordon has a penchant for being outspoken.
“Sometimes she’ll say stuff to us while we’re running in the woods, none of which I can repeat,” fellow senior Caroline Habel recalled. “Shocking things, but then I can’t really say what.”
Another good friend, Jason Fitz, said Gordon has never shied away from voicing her opinions on life.
“As a freshman she listened to nobody but herself. She’s matured a lot over the years, as have we all,” he said. “She’s smart, funny and a leader on the field.”
When she was 9, Gordon ran the 12-kilometer Rhody Run in Port Townsend without stopping in 11 minutes, 58 seconds.
She hasn’t stopped running since.
“Katy entered high school as a good runner but as she will be the first to admit not the fastest of the class of ‘07,” noted Falcon track Coach Doug Fulton. “She has developed into one of the top 2A distance runners in the state by sheer determination. Success in distance running goes to those who work hard and make the commitment to run during the dark, cold and lonely days of winter and in the heat of the summer.”
Gordon runs 1000-meter repeats in the pouring rain in mid-December. And every Thursday at 6 p.m. she joins the local running group for weekly track interval workouts.
Fitz recalls that, “Once during track season, she was needed for a 4X4 relay when someone didn’t show up. Now, the thing is, Katy is definitely not a sprinter. They gave her the baton and she tried her best but didn’t have the form.
“She went too fast for her body,” he said.
Over the years Fulton has come to expect Gordon to demonstrate her tremendous passion for running and great confidence every time she toes the line.
“She expects to win,” Fulton said. “That passion is contagious and she hopes to leave it as her legacy to our young and talented underclassmen.”
When not running, Gordon is an accomplished clarinetist and president of the South Whidbey High School student body. As ASB president she runs all the meetings and attends meetings with other high schools.
Her current grade point average of 3.976 puts her on a fast track to accomplish whatever she wants to do with her life. “Katy is the type of person who sets a goal and then does everything within her means to reach it,” said South Whidbey Principal Mike Johnson. “She’s a natural leader who is intelligent and also has a wonderful sense of humor.”
Gordon’s favorite subjects are math and science.
“I’ve always liked math and been good at it,” she said.
She credits teacher Andy Davis for helping her stay on track; he teaches Advanced Placement calculus class. “He has a good sense of humor and can relate to me — that’s important.” She also thanked the South Whidbey School District for letting her take high school math classes while still at the middle school.
And, she really enjoys playing in the high school band. “I’ve always thought there was a correlation between music and math.”
Her musical listening taste runs the gamut from classical to rap.
“Yeah, I listen to Snoop Dog, but then Rachmaninoff is terrific, too,” Gordon said.
And while any film tied into space and astronomy works for her, she freely admits that “Star Wars” is her fave.
Her major goal is to get into the Massachusetts Institute of Technology but she’s hedging her bets by applying to nine other top schools.
“The application process is time-consuming and hard,” she noted. “I’d advise everyone to start as early as they can.
“I feel prepared for college but I’ve done things to help me, like calculus class at the University of Washington last year. If you’re motivated and take lots of AP classes it really can make a difference, whatever your planned course of study.”
Gordon admitted senior-itis has set in a bit.
“It’s hard to do homework at night; all of us are trying to balance classes, sports, relationships, college applications and family — there’s a lot going on and all of us try to stay focused.
“It isn’t easy,” she said.
On Monday, Gordon joined her teammates for the first day of practice, getting ready for her primary events, the 1600 and 3200-meter distance runs.
That was her, grinning and joking as she high-stepped her way around the track.
“It’s time to run again,” she said simply.
Jeff VanDerford can be reaches at 221-5300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.