Kayla Woltz holds a copy of MVP Magazine, the regional sports magazine in which she is featured.
Kayla Woltz holds a copy of MVP Magazine, the regional sports magazine in which she is featured.
Kayla Woltz has been profiled as a six-peat pacer.

That's the MVP cross-country cheetah.

"I like running for the stress relief, for the social aspect and because it's enjoyable," said Kayla, a Chatfield High School senior and cross-country team member. Her six-time appearances in the Class A Minnesota State Cross Country Meet were featured in the January-February issue of MVP Magazine, a southeast Minnesota high school sports magazine. She is the daughter of Roger and Melissa Woltz.

The MVP article reads, "She has made a remarkable six straight appearances in the Class A Minnesota State Cross Country Meet. If you're bad at math, that's qualifying every year since the seventh grade. But that's not all. She was second twice, fifth twice, and this past November, she finished tenth, making it five straight top-ten finishes at state. To do this, said coach (Chris) Frye, 'You have to be on top of your game for the section meet and the state meet every year.'"

The article recounted how Kayla's running style is a relaxed, even-keel style that permeates every aspect of her running style.

It continued, "Watching her race as a spectator, however, is anything but relaxing. Many high school cross-country races begin with a mad dash for the first quarter mile to half mile, followed by a steady attrition of kids who can't hold their early, too-fast pace...but a quarter-mile into just about any race that Kayla runs, the immediate question is, 'Where's Kayla?' Chances are, she's somewhere in the middle rear of the pack, gliding along with her relaxed, long stride...sometimes in the lead, sometimes lurking like a cheetah stalking prey."

According to the MVP profile, Kayla began running in the fourth grade when her mother noticed an advertisement in the local paper announcing that the high school cross-country team was inviting elementary age kids to join them at practice.

The elementary school program was an effort by Frye to widen the pipeline of talent for the relatively small Chatfield cross-country team. After that first session, Kayla knew right away that she enjoyed running.

The Chatfield High School team welcomed her as a seventh grader who had instinct for and dedication to a state running career, and she proved the coach right when he chose to invest his time in her eighth and ninth grade years, cultivating the runner who now spends her summer and winter training for spring and fall running seasons in order to be in shape and ready to race.

Kayla explained that running competitively challenges her. "It brings me out of my comfort zone and makes me more competitive and driven," she said.

As she is running for her team, she meets great people. "(Running) keeps me involved and I make a lot of lifelong friends."

She finds that it pushes her to be a better person because she has learned to be humble and modest, and to set and achieve goals and in each footfall, there are rewards.

"It proves to me that I can achieve my dreams and goals," she added.

Kayla also said that being featured in MVP was strange. "I felt honored, but it wasn't normal...I felt a bit uncomfortable because I'm not a fan of attention," she explained.

All the same, it's attention well earned, and it raises in her the "excitement and nervousness to try running for a college team, to try new experiences and meet new people."

She'll keep a copy of the magazine with her high school trophies and medals, a reminder of her journey around the home track.

"Reading about my running career brings an outsider's perspective," Kayla stated. "It's been a good career, but it's also not the most important thing in life. It makes me proud of my running record...to see all that I really have accomplished so far."

Representing Chatfield High School in a regional publication is also important to her, she added. "It is good because our small school gets recognition, and I'm happy that I'm worthy enough to represent the school."

She'll most miss the people and the familiarity of running at Chatfield once she graduates this spring.

Kayla plans to attend North Dakota State University to become a veterinary technician, as she has always aspired toward a career working with animals.

"I would maybe like to take my knowledge and experiences and coach a team someday. I'm proud of what I've accomplished for myself. I will keep running as long as I can in life," Kayla concluded.

To read the MVP article about Kayla Woltz's running career in its entirety, log onto www.mvpmagazinemn.com and click on "past issues" or click on the Chatfield link on the page.