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Frazier senior enjoys a run of success in cross country

| Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, 7:31 p.m.
Frazier cross country runner Christian Katic is a member of the National Honor Society and is ranked 10th in his senior class.
Frazier cross country runner Christian Katic is a member of the National Honor Society and is ranked 10th in his senior class.

There is more to Christian Katic's cross country success at Frazier High School in Perryopolis than merely paying his dues and working his way up the ladder, third as a sophomore, second as junior and first this season.

As the only senior letter-winner, as well as the squad's only returning letterman, Katic has played a big role in his team's 37 wins since his sophomore season, Frazier cross country coach Joe Turek noted. However, according to Turek, “as a runner, Christian has developed not just in terms of his success but physically since he was a sophomore, increasing his endurance and speed, and he has grown into a leader mentally regarding his training and how he approaches a meet.”

Depending on the meet, the Commodores “could always count on him to be our third or fourth runner as a sophomore,” Turek continued. “He has been a solid runner. He is a true student of the game; he knows the courses he runs; he studies the courses and knows his competition. He plans his race to the mile mark. He knows what to do and always gives 100 percent. He is our team captain and has carried the load for us early this season.”

Prior to this year, Katic's best time in the 3.1 mile cross country course was 18:57, and he finished 18th in the Fayette County Coaches Tournament as a junior. After five consecutive first-place finishes in his first five meets this season, Katic finished his sixth meet as runner-up, but his time of 18:26 knocked 30 seconds off his prior best.

“Christian broke into 18 minutes this season, and we want to get him into low 18s or high 17s by the end of season,” Turek said.

Katic finished sixth at the Fayette County Championship on Oct. 10 with a time of 18:26.

However, Katic's cross country career was virtually an afterthought. After not running as a freshman, another cross country runner suggested he try distance running as track season was ready to commence.

“I did a distance workout and now running is my favorite thing to do. In fact, I'm a little obsessed with it,” he said, chuckling. “Now, I run every day.”

At the same time, Katic laughed to himself regarding his physique. “I'm 5-11 and I weigh 160 pounds and I'm a little large for a cross country runner. Other guys are a little smaller, but I enjoy running and I work at it. I'm stronger than I was when I first started, and I'm sure that being stronger has something to do with it.”

Despite Katic's individual successes, he regards the sophomore season section championship won by his Commodores as the highlight of his career.

“That was my first year on the team, and we had some good runners,” he recalled. “Being a varsity runner for the first time and working as a team and to be able to contribute as a sophomore on a section winner was important.”

But it's not only on the cross country course where Katic is making his mark. His 4.6 grade-point average has earned him a No. 10 ranking in Frazier's senior class, where he is the secretary. He is a member of the National Honor Society, secretary of the FBLA, and is the student representative to the school board.

In addition to being a member and vice president of the Commodores marching band, where he serves as drum line section leader, Katic is a member of a Fayettenam, a country-rock band that includes brothers Collin Nutt (guitar) and Mike Nutt (bass guitar) and their father, Karl Nutt, who plays the steel guitar. Besides performing at area festivals and fraternal organization sites, the group copped first place in Frazier's talent show the past two years.

Katic also understands the importance of serving his community. His received his Eagle Scout award in 2012 after refurbishing the Star Junction Veteran's Memorial.

“It was in disrepair and needed some attention,” he said. “I understand the roles that our local veterans have played in our community, and I wanted to do something in their honor, so I removed old shrubs and added new plants. I cleaned the Memorial, repainted a sign, pruned trees, planted new trees and added stone benches in their honor.”

With Katic's high school career winding down, he has his sights set on attending Seton Hill University in Greensburg where he plans to enter the physician's assistant program.

Les Harvath is a contributing writer to Trib Total Media.

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