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March 29, 2021
Youth Spotlight- Katharine Duren
New New England indoor record holder in hurdles
USATF New England (USATF-NE) is featuring
(Central Catholic (MA) HS/New England Elite) as our inaugural Youth Spotlight athlete in March 2021. Duren broke the New England 60m hurdles record three times during the indoor season. At the East Coast Invitational on February 6, her time of 8.57 seconds was good for the first record. She followed with an 8.50 at the Illinois Meet of Champions and closed the season with a win in 8.49 at the AAU Indoor Championships in Virginia on March 14. During the season she also was just 4/100 off the Massachusetts 55 meter hurdle record.
It was then a seemless transition to the longer outdoor 100m hurdles at the National Scholastic Athletics Foundation USA Meet of Champions on March 27, clocking 14.23 seconds for first place.
USATF-NE spoke with Katharine about her accomplishments.
: How have you been able to stay mentally focused and do these things that you’re doing, not only in the 55 and 60 meter hurdle, but also in other events like the 200 and 400?
: I've always been kind of a mentally-driven person, so I’ve never had an issue with staying focused even when things are getting tough. I’ve been very fortunate to have a team and a group of people that have been so supportive and just as driven as I am to stay focused and to know that we have a job to do. We know that we have meets coming up, we know that we have Nationals coming up. So just staying focused and being with a group of people that have been wanting the same things — we all want to drop our times, we all want to be faster — so when we work together, I think that helps a lot. Just being able to go to practice and seeing everyone working so hard because we all want to be better and push ourselves. So staying focused was never an issue because everyone wants to be great, and in order to be great, you have to stay focused. So I think we all knew what we had to do. I knew I had to get this workout in today. Even if I didn’t want to, I had to do it. It’s starting to pay off and I’m starting to see results from it.
: When you talk about wanting to be great, what do you mean by great?
: I never really look at times, I just go in wanting to be better than I was the last time. I wouldn’t say I’m a perfectionist, but nothing I ever do satisfies me. If I hit a time, I think, “okay, but I want to be faster,” which may not always be the best thing, but I always want to be better. I go into every race going through everything and not wanting to be perfect, but just wanting to be the best that I can be. I just want to be great at the sport and that’s just kind of my mindset on things.
: In your mind, what are you hoping for with the NSAF Meet of Champions? (This interview was held prior to the meet)
: At first I was like, “okay, I haven’t done the 100m hurdles since the summer, I’ve been doing the 60m hurdles for the past few weeks." At first, I was pretty apprehensive - how am I going to be able to compete in a 100m race and just go? But after the past few weeks and the work we’ve put in, with the workouts—and not just the workouts, but getting stronger in general — I’m not really worried anymore because I know that I won’t let myself mentally not do well. I always just go into things like, “just be confident. You’ve put in the work, so there’s no reason why you should be worried, because you are prepared.” It’s going in, competing, and whatever happens happens. I know that I’m ready to go, I’m prepared, I’m strong, so I shouldn’t be worried about how long the race is or what’s going to happen, because I’ve put in the work so now I just have to go out there and do it.
Two more spotlight interviews with indoor performers from this season will follow - Jacob Kao and Samirah Moody.