Katelyn Hutchison – Ithaca Track & Field

“I remember at the end of my freshman year of High School, I ran in the Chicago Public Schools City Championships. I was freaking out. Nobody was expecting me to do anything crazy and out of nowhere I won. A couple weeks later we had the sectional qualifier. When they got to my name, the announcer said, ‘Katelyn Hutchison is the only freshman.’ I didn’t qualify for state but I did still run pretty fast which I was excited about. At the end of that race I thought, ‘Wow this is for me. I want to do this.’” 

“My dad is my biggest supporter. He’s crazy when he comes to these things. During my senior year, he would say, ‘I think Katelyn’s gonna run 54 this year,’ and everybody was looking at him like he was nuts. I thought he was nuts too. But you know, him always having that faith in me, as well as him doing literally whatever he could to make sure that I had everything I needed made a difference.”

“At times with track I was very inconsistent. It’s not like I struggled with some crazy depression while I was running track, but the mental aspect of it was definitely a huge thing that I struggled with. It’s something that I’m still working on. I would tell myself that I wasn’t good enough, or I wasn’t gonna be as good as I wanted to be.  I had to understand that sometimes my coaches saw something in me that was harder for me to see.” 

“Choosing to go to a predominantly white institution, I don’t think I really understood what kind of impact it was gonna have on me until I got there. I’m a very outward person. I have a lot of energy, I can be really loud, and I have a really big presence and so I showed myself that way at orientation.  When we started having practices, I had that shock and I was very quiet for like three weeks, which was very very unusual for me.”

“One day we were about to go into lift and I just opened up. I snapped out of it and I started acting goofy again. One of my teammates said, ‘Where have you been? I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had culture shock. Sometimes I would look around and I’d be like, ‘Wow, there aren’t any Black people here.’ I don’t really know what to do about it. There’s just certain ways that I want to act and certain things that I want to talk about that may not necessarily be understood.”

“Thankfully I’ve been in an environment where I’ve always been encouraged to love the fact that I’m a woman and to be strong and empowered in that. I’ve had representation in leadership, because like I said, my coaches, and most of my athletic directors are women. Black women are probably the most disrespected people in America, so I have a lot to think about. Having that support and representational leadership was very important for me.”

“If I were to give my younger self one piece of advice, I would say, ‘Please be patient with yourself. You can be even better than you are right now.’ The challenge to become better is going to be fun. For a really long time I felt like I wasn’t up to par with everybody else, but I learned to be a confident person. That doesn’t mean being overconfident, it’s more about being composed and knowing what you’re capable of and not trying to compare yourself to other people. If you know what you’re capable of, what everybody else is doing doesn’t really matter.” 

“I know a lot of people don’t really like the fact that politics or race are intertwined with sports because they think sports are supposed to be entertainment. The fact of the matter is that these topics are so important. There’s no reason why people with big platforms should not be promoting or talking about what’s going on. Everybody loves sports, so if sports allows themselves to give social justices a voice – then that’s a huge help.” 

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