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Out of football's shadows, Pancoast finds room to run
Running in the shadows of a storied football team, Central product Kim Pancoast is finding a way to make her mark in Cornhusker country.
Pancoast said the cross country team enjoys a great deal of support from the school despite the state's love for the gridiron.
"They give all the athletes so much support," she said. "The fans here come and support us."
Pancoast, whose sister, Jennifer, is a top runner as a sophomore at Central, got off to a quick start in her collegiate debut. In the season opener, the Husker's Avaya Cross Country Classic, Pancoast finished seventh on the 5-kilometer course.
Central cross country coach Mark Hahn said Kim Pancoast's dedication and work ethic has helped make her an exceptional runner.
"She was always one of the most well-conditioned," he said.
Competing in collegiate cross country means a step up to 6-kilometer races in most events, and Pancoast felt the effects of that step up in her meet following the opener.
Pancoast said the move up in miles is a big difference, but with the help of a training program from her coach she was able to make the adjustment.
"The 6,000 wasn't too bad, but it takes a while to get used to," she said.
For Pancoast though, the hope of a stellar freshman season ended after her second meet when a stress fracture was found in her femur. Pancoast will redshirt for the fall cross country season, but hopes to be ready to compete in the indoor track season.
Pancoast said she is excited about the chance of running in the indoor meets, but isn't sure how she will perform on the indoor surface.
"It will be weird," she said. "I haven't run indoors before."
With her early success, Pancoast said she fully believes that once her injury is healed in six weeks, she will be back running and preparing for her next meet. Pancoast likely will either run the 3,000-meter or mile run for the indoor season if she competes.
"I think the 3,000 will be my better race eventually," Pancoast said.
Hahn said with the success she had in her first two meets Pancoast can stop doubting the ability she has.
"Now she knows she can run with those girls at the Division I level," he said.
After getting into running at the urging of her father during her freshman year at Central, Pancoast has excelled. She said she fell in love with the sport and hopes that it starts to get a bigger following among fans.
"More people are starting to look at it," she said.
For Pancoast, it's a plus to see her sister do so well in her sophomore season. Kim and Jennifer Pancoast were able to compete against each other last season.
Although the thought of running together again would be nice, Kim Pancoast said her sister is enjoying high school right now, and hasn't really started to worry about where she will go to college yet.
Jon Mark Thompson, a freshman at Notre Dame University and Central graduate, had his first shot of the season in a 1-0 win over Akron last Sunday. Thompson has appeared in seven of 13 games for the Fighting Irish who were ranked as high as 10th in the nation at one point this season.
Southeast Missouri State University kicker Derek Kutz, a graduate of St. Vincent, is a perfect 31-of-31 on extra points this season.