A Division-I basketball scholarship awaits Adrianna Katcher. You can make the argument that it’s not even her best sport.
“I enjoy them all,” said Katcher, a junior at Center Point-Urbana. “Whatever is in season and in front of me at the time, that’s my thing.”
For now through October, cross country is her thing. In terms of success, it’s her best thing.
Katcher is a two-time Class 3A state champion.
“I just have a lot of grit, I guess,” Katcher said. “I’m really competitive. I don’t like to lose, it doesn’t matter who I’m running against. That helps me get better every day.”
All four defending state-champion girls return, including three from the Gazette area: Katcher in 3A, Marie Hostetler of Mid-Prairie in 2A and Emily Staal of Springville-Central City in 1A. All are juniors.
Paige Horner of Johnston (4A) also returns. She’s a junior, too.
Springville-Central City is up to 2A this season, so Staal and Hostetler will go head-to-head at Fort Dodge this year, assuming both make it.
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to stay with Hostetler,” Staal said. “I’m going to try.”
Hostetler had the fastest overall time at state last year, 17:51. She’s missing her best training partner now, though; older sister Anna Hostetler is a freshman at the University of Iowa.
“It’s difficult not having her here now,” Marie said. “We ran together most of the summer. I’m going to miss her, but it means I’m going to have to push myself more.”
Katcher won the 3A race last year in 18:23; Staal took the 1A gold in 18:36.
Also a star in soccer and track, Katcher committed in July to play basketball at Southern Illinois University. She has been a key figure on CPU basketball teams that reached the state semifinals in 2017 and 2018.
“(Carbondale) is 6 1/2 hours away, but a lot of the Missouri Valley Conference games are pretty close to home,” Katcher said. “I wasn’t training a lot last summer because of basketball, but I’ve been able to run more this summer, and I’m definitely in better shape.”
Even with her sister’s absence, Hostetler’s Mid-Prairie squad is a very good bet to repeat as the 2A girls’ champion. Six runners return, including five that finished in the top 45. Sophomore Ana Fleming was 10th.
“And we’ve got some good freshmen coming in,” Hostetler said.
Like Hostetler, Staal’s best running companion is an older sister. Janelle Staal, now a senior, was 11th in the 1A state race last year.
The Staal girls attend Central City High School.
“We did a lot of long runs this summer, as far as 10 miles,” Emily said. “Where (Janelle) goes to college, I’ll probably go, too.”
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