This Year's Strategy For Katie Clute Is Based On Experience

* Katie Clute of Olmstead Falls (OH) reflects on the lessons she learned from last year's RunningLane Cross Country Championships

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This year has been a pivotal one for Olmsted Falls' (OH) Katie Clute.

The high school senior and University of Oregon signee has learned to take one training day at a time and release the expectations of others to perform her best. 

As a result, she's earned her first OHSAA Division I state title and finished seventh at the Champs Sports Midwest Regionals to punch her ticket to nationals. 

But before facing the nation's top 40 athletes on December 10 in San Diego, Clute couldn't resist missing out on another experience at the Garmin RunningLane Cross Country Championships.

At her first RunningLane Championships a year ago, the Ohio athlete decided to take a risk that taught her a valuable lesson.

"Last year I went out faster than I should of from where I was at the time but the goal was to be up there [with the leaders] and stay there," she said.  

Clute crossed the finish line as the 30th-fastest girl with a season's best of 17:14.

This year's race strategy, however, is much more simple. 

"My goal this year is to be up [in the pack] as high as I can and use what I learned last year of being with those names I see everywhere," Clute said.

This time, Clute is hopeful it will be a different result.

Leading into this weekend, she's physically stronger and faster and has focused on being mentally tough for this moment. 

"I'm really excited," Clute said. "I don't think there's anyone there not going in with the goal of setting a new personal best. [Huntsville] is a super fast course and it's an awesome event. That's definitely something I want."



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