Katelyn Rupe receives Gatorade Award for cross country

Central sophomore won six cross country events last season

On Jan. 23, Gatorade revealed their 2022-23 Gatorade Kansas Girls Cross Country Player of the Year to be Katelyn Rupe, a sophomore at Salina Central.
This is not the only thing Rupe has achieved this season. This season alone she had six victories including a win at the Rim Rock Classic, State Regionals, and the 5A State Championship. Rupe then advanced to the Nike Heartland Regional Championship in South Dakota where she placed 13th.
“This wasn’t an award that she sought out, but she is very deserving and joins a list of great Salina Central athletes that have won the award,” Central Cross Country Coach Brad Dix said. “For her to win it as a sophomore is pretty special.”
Cross country isn’t the only thing Rupe is dedicated to. Though not planning to continue her career, Rupe played tennis for Central both her freshman and sophomore years. Rupe is also a member of HOSA and maintains a 4.0 unweighted GPA.
“It’s a look at the athletic aspects, but also the academic and community aspect of a person,” Rupe said when asked about what it takes to achieve the award.
Rupe started her running career in kindergarten through Salina’s local track team, the Salina Burn. She runs for their winter team, the Winter Soldiers, and also volunteers as a coach. Not only is Rupe involved in many team efforts, but she trains alone as well.
“I train six days a week and have one rest day a week,” Rupe said. “I usually range from 40 to 45 miles a week. For mobility, I do three days of strength training.”
Rupe’s efforts have not gone unnoticed.
“She consistently puts in the work year round whether it’s a 7-mile run before school or a 10-mile run on a cold Saturday afternoon,” Dix said. “So many would find a reason they can’t get their work in, and she just finds a way to get it done. You begin to see a separation factor between her and her competition.”
Along with notoriety, the Gatorade Cross Country Player of the Year awards $1,000 for the recipient to donate to their organization of choice. Rupe donated her money to the Salina School Marathon Foundation.
This foundation is a nonprofit which gives elementary schools the opportunity to encourage students to exercise through having a school-wide marathon.
Although Rupe has had multiple achievements this season, she says this award is not like the others.
“This award is a good way for me to feel recognized for the work I’ve put in,” Rupe said.