With regard to her cross country career, Methacton High's Kara Steinke has reached the heights in the PAC-10. In four years she has placed first in every dual meet and she finished the season as only the second four-time conference champion.
In recognition of her accomplishments this season, Steinke has been selected as the 2013 Times Herald Girls Cross Country Athlete of the Year.
When top-flight scholastic runners move on to the collegiate level, they aspire to reach new heights. It's safe to say that no one from the Class of 2014 will reach the heights that Steinke will as a collegiate runner — at least physically.
Steinke just accepted a scholarship to study at and compete for Colorado State University. The school is located in Fort Collins, Colo., which sits at an elevation of 4,982 feet above sea level — 298 feet shy of the "Mile High' mark.
"I just fell in love with it the second I got off the plane,' said Steinke, who is also a top academic student at Methacton. "The location is beautiful. I wanted to go to college in the middle of nowhere.
"I really like the coach and the girls were great. And they offer my major — exercise science. I also wanted to go somewhere cold.'
Steinke will have no trouble finding cold weather when she is running for the Rams in Fort Collins. The average low temperatures are 48 degrees in September, 38 in October and 26 in November.
While running for Methacton Steinke qualified for the PIAA Class AAA Championships all four years. This year she placed 46th at the state meet after finishing 14th at the 2013 District One Class AAA Championships.
During the regular season, she won gold medals at the Spring-Ford Invitational in Royersford, the Abington Invitational in Abington, the Bulldog Invitational in Media and the Twilight Invitational in Souderton. She also placed second at the Viking Invitational in Richboro and seventh at PIAA XC Foundation Invitational in Hershey.
Steinke accomplished all this despite having to deal with an array of physical ailments during the season — including breathing problems and iron deficiency.
"It was a frustrating season having to deal with all the health issues,' said Steinke. "It was even more frustrating because I had just come off good summer training. My body kept giving me trouble, but I mentally tried to push through. It was frustrating because I was off my peak during the big meets at the end of the season.'
As a freshman, Steinke placed eighth at the District One Class AAA Championships and 33rd at the 2010 PIAA Class AAA Championships. In her sophomore year, the Warriors' distance ace finished 16th at districts and 66th at states. Last year, Steinke won the fourth-place medal at the district championships and finished 26th in the meet at Hershey.
"For me, to be undefeated in the league — even with all the issues and feeling so bad at league championships — was a great feeling,' said Steinke. "It's really an honor to be able to say that I'm four-time PAC-10 champion.'
2013 TIMES HERALD GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY ALL-AREA TEAMS
COACH OF THE YEAR
Larry Wilson, Gwynedd Mercy Academy
ATHLETE OF THE YEAR
Kara Steinke, Methacton
Lotte Black, Wissahickon
Phoebe Clowser, North Penn
Lucille Ionescu, Upper Dublin
Brianna Mengini, North Penn
Jenna Reimer, North Penn
Kara Steinke, Methacton
Melanie Vlasic, North Penn
Kayla Connely, Lansdale Catholic
Abbe Goldstein, Germantown Academy
Colleen McGovern, North Penn
Mallory Snyder, Perkiomen Valley
Emily Stewart, Upper Dublin
Ali Valenti, North Penn
Jada Wilson, Upper Merion
Zeinab Bakillah, Upper Merion
Christie Balestra, Upper Dublin
Coleen Butler, Upper Merion
Samantha Christman, Spring Ford
Ryan DeOrio, Methacton
Morgan Faust, Perkiomen Valley
Allie Flint, Gwynedd-Mercy Academy
Adelie Ionescu, Upper Dublin
Abby Konkoly, Methacton
Paige Kupsky, Germantown Academy
Gabrielle Miele, Archbishop Carroll
Stephanie Szekely, Gwynedd-Mercy Academy
Isabel Uribe, Upper Dublin
Mikaela Vlasic, North Penn