S. ABINGTON TWP. — For the second consecutive year, Abington Heights’ Katie Dammer was acknowledged as one of the best cross country runners in the state.
Dammer was named as a first-team, all-state selection by Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association Nov. 8.
“To finish off my senior year like that is definitely really exciting, especially when I look at the names of the other girls who are on the team,” Dammer said. “It’s really great to be recognized along with them, especially because I’ve been racing them for so long. Cross country is such a unique sport because we’re all going through the same thing. It makes it really fun and creates a really good atmosphere and community.”
Dammer finished fourth in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class 3A meet Nov. 4 in Hershey.
She also finished 20th in the PIAA meet as a freshman, seventh as a sophomore and sixth as a junior.
Abington Heights cross country head coach Mike Ludka believes Dammer’s dedication to the sport is the main reason for her success.
“It’s her approach every day,” he said. “She enjoys the process as much as anyone. She gets into it and wants to learn and test herself.
“She’s really had a special career.”
Many of Dammer’s best cross country memories stem from group accomplishments and general bonding with her team.
“I would definitely say the first time my team won districts during my sophomore year stands out,” she said. “We really had a great showing at the meet. I’ve also had so much fun practicing with my team; we’ve had some distinctively good workouts and I think those days are just as important as the big wins.
“I don’t have any regrets about my last four years; I’m really grateful for my coaches, my teammates and my family.”
Dammer committed to Georgetown University in October to continue her academic and athletic careers. The opportunity to make an immediate impact played a factor in her decision to join the Hoyas program. She also made visits to Duke, Notre Dame and Princeton.
“The recruiting process was very fun and interesting,” she said. “I learned a lot about what I’m looking for and I got to meet a lot of interesting people, both athletes and coaches. I’m really excited about the recruiting class that’s coming in; we’re building a really good group.
“I definitely wanted to be somewhere I could contribute, but also somewhere I would be surrounded by people who would push me to grow over the four years. I feel like it’s a competitive program and we’re going to get to compete on the national level in the next couple years.”
Dammer is scheduled to run in the Northeast Regional qualifier for Nike Cross Nationals Nov. 25 in Wappingers Falls, New York.
“I’m a little disappointed with my showing at the state meet, so I’m hoping that race will be much more representative of my fitness and my competitiveness,” she said. “I think I still have a lot left in the tank from this year.
“I’m just looking forward to going out and having fun.”
With her college decision behind her, Dammer is also excited about the upcoming high school track and field season.
“We have such a good all-around group, so I always have so much fun at the meets,” she said. “I think we’re going to have a really strong team this year and I’m looking forward to, hopefully, keeping our (league) winning streak going.”
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.