Bacher's hard work pays off with MVP
Rising senior Katie Bacher wanted to be the best she could be in cross country. In the end, the hard work and dedication paid off as she took home the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference MVP honors during the 2014 season last fall, even while battling health issues.
Bacher was also named the East Penn Press Female Athlete of the Year for her achievements in cross country and track and field.
"I trained very hard the summer before last cross country season and really upped my mileage, looking forward to the competitions," Bacher said. "I was happy with my performances and it was a huge honor to be named MVP by the league coaches.
"Unfortunately, the training took a toll on me and I ended up with an iron deficiency that caused my performance to suffer in the postseason races. This was a very difficult time, but I learned a lot about taking care of my body and I'm looking forward to my senior season and seeing what I can do now that I am hopefully in good health."
Bacher led the Emmaus girls team in going undefeated during the regular season, while also finishing third at the EPC meet, second at districts, and 15th at the PIAA meet in Hershey.
"This really shows how much of a team sport cross country is and how strong our team was," said Bacher. "Even when I was sick and unable to compete to the best of my abilities, we never gave up on our hopes of going to states as a team for the third year in a row. Since only the top two teams qualify for states and we were third at leagues, we were underdogs and knew that this was going to be a challenging feat.
"The team ran very well at districts, and we edged out Parkland, who had beaten us the week before. I am so grateful for my amazing teammates."
Her hard work continued to pay off in the spring. At the District 11 track and field championship meet, Bacher finished in second place in the 1600-meter run, which qualified her for the state event at Shippensburg University.
She was also part of the 4x800 relay team that finished second at the league meet and took third place in the 800-meter run that week.
But competitive running wasn't always the plan for Bacher. Coming into Emmaus as a freshman, Bacher was in love with another sport: soccer. It's safe to say the change has worked out well so far.
"I had always loved running, but I actually came into high school as a soccer player," Bacher added. "I played varsity and club soccer my freshman year, but then I went out for the track team that spring and absolutely loved it. My teammates, the coaches, and the competitions made for a great experience. "After running track, I decided to give up soccer and switch to cross country the fall of my sophomore year and have become more and more dedicated as I have gone through high school."
With one more year to improve on her time and potentially garner more individual and team accolades, Bacher wants to get back to states in both sports once again, but also be joined by the boys program.
"As a senior and leader on the team, one of my biggest goals is to maintain the great team culture and the spirit of 'work hard, play hard,'" said Bacher. "The culture of the team has been to ensure that people are not only practicing and training hard but are also having fun along the way.
"I want for our girls team to qualify for states again. Although this will be very challenging and we lost several key seniors, we are bringing back a lot of strong talent and are hoping for some new runners to step up as well. It would also be great to see our guys team qualify. It would be very exciting to have both teams go to states."
Regarding her future after this year, Bacher is looking to compete in both sports in college, and study engineering.
As a high academic student-athlete, she is looking for a combination of a strong academic field in a school with a good running program.