Kitchen Cooking for UCSD Cross Country Squad

    Senior Amy Kitchen runs to race and races to win.

    Consistently running for the cross country A team, Kitchen has repeatedly placed in the top five spots throughout the season. Running the 5,000-kilometer and 10,000-kilometer races, this ecology, behavior and evolution major also knows what it is like to be out of the race.

    Kitchen was sidelined for a year and a half with three stress fractures to her leg, which were sustained while running track during her sophomore year. In her returning season of cross country, as she was getting her running legs back, she received a knee injury and had to watch races rather than compete in them.

    “”She is tough as nails,”” said head coach Ted Van Arsdale. “”This season is a tremendous comeback for her after the year-and-a-half rehabilitation that she went through.””

    Kitchen wanted to get back on the track as soon as possible.

    “”It is really hard to be injured for that long and to not be able to compete,”” Kitchen said. “”I really enjoy the racing aspect of the sport, and not just the running, and I could not wait to get back out there.””

    According to Van Arsdale, every runner reaches a point where she questions herself as a runner and her motivation for continuing to run. A runner endures times of reflection and thought about her future in the sport. During Kitchen’s time of questioning, Van Arsdale feels that she realized many things.

    “”I think that she knew she had it in herself to make a great comeback,”” Van Arsdale said. “”There was more to her career that she had done by then. There was more for her to accomplish before she was satisfied, so she directed her energies into getting back on the track for the team.””

    Kitchen learned a lot about herself as an athlete while sidelined with injuries. Although she cares about the UCSD team, running appeals to her because it is such a personal sport.

    “”I really enjoy running, racing and the competitive aspect of cross country and track,”” she said. “”I know that I rely totally on myself to do well, and it is what you can do out there by yourself. It is just me out there running for the team.””

    On the track, however, is not the only time she has been on her own. When her family moved during her sophomore year, the cross country team became an extended family, according to Kitchen.

    “”The team is very important to me and they mean a lot,”” Kitchen said. “”I try to watch out for the younger runners and take care of them a bit. I enjoy running with them and I hope I help them in some way.””

    Freshman Bridgiet Bertino agrees with Kitchen.

    “”She always has a positive attitude and always is looking out for us in a way,”” Bertino said. “”She sends us little messages when we have a big meet coming up, she organizes us, she watches out for us, and gives advice and help if we ever need it.””

    Kitchen has become a kind of team mother, watching over the cross country runners and offering encouragement and amusing stories, according to Bertino.

    “”I try to set an example for everyone by not complaining,”” Kitchen said. “”I want to stay upbeat for everyone, including myself.””

    Kitchen has a strong sense of competition in her also, according to Van Arsdale.

    “”She is a complex personality that has had to deal with a lot of reality at this level,”” Van Arsdale said. “”When you achieve college running status, there is a fair amount of adversity and you are alone to determine what is important. She has realized that running is important to her.””

    Kitchen has taken off with that realization, according to Van Arsdale. Last year she attended nationals in Boston representing UCSD and fared well. She is a quiet-spoken athlete who competes for herself and believes in herself as a competitor.

    “”[Kitchen] is not a ‘rah-rah’ type person. She is serious and she is tough and she has shown that every step of the way.””

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