By ANGEL CANEZ
Katherine Bruno, Pima Community College’s cross-country star, has been running away from all the competition this season.
Coming off a third-place finish at the NJCAA Region 1 championship Oct. 29, the 19-year-old sophomore finished in the Top 5 five times this season.
Adding to her already impressive list of accolades, Bruno recently won her second NJCAA Player of the Week after winning three consecutive races.
“I always remember there’s always someone faster”….. ‘There’s always something to strive for, I’m not at the top yet.”
Sophomore Kaylen Fox, All-Region I Honorable Mention spoke highly of her two year teammate. “Katie is one of my best friends and it all began because she was such a good teammate to me last year. She always makes sure the rest of the team never gives up, whether it be through an encouraging word or simply by her own work ethic. She’s always giving 100% no matter the circumstances”.
Currently, Bruno is the No.8 runner in the nation, with a goal to finish in the Top 5 nationally. She has almost single-handedly propelled the women’s team to a Top 15 spot in the nation.
Bruno has been running for most of her life. She decided to try it competitively in the eighth grade while living in Oracle. She then ran all four years in high school at Canyon Del Oro High School.
Bruno described her running during that time as uneventful, but it was good enough to garner the attention of the Pima Cross Country team and earn her a scholarship.
“I qualified for the scholarship, and they wanted to know if I wanted to run for them, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” said Bruno, who is working on her liberal arts degree with the intention of going into the art field. “I guess having my school paid for; that would be a good idea.”
Bruno realized after winning the ACCAC Conference Championship in Goodyear last year and earning the first of two NJCAA Player of the Weeks that maybe she could go somewhere with this. Maybe it’s not just a hobby, but a path.
“I could take this somewhere; I could do something with this,” Bruno said. “It’s more than just a way to pay for school, and I kind of found my passion.”
It indeed turned out to be a good decision, a life-changing one, in fact, as Bruno has been setting the course on fire this year.
She’s even garnering attention from Division 1 schools. Bruno has received scholarship offers from big-name college programs including Saint John’s University, Gonzaga University and Florida International University.
For someone who can’t seem to lose, Bruno is a humble woman who hasn’t let the thrill of victory go to her head.
“I’m competitive, especially when it comes to races, but it’s healthy,” she said.
“I love the coaches,” she said. “Grey (Weinberg) pretty much showed me I can go somewhere with this. He has a different coaching style from my high school coach, but they’re so similar, in that this is a YOU kind of sport.”
Although cross country is a ME sport, Bruno couldn’t hold in her appreciation for her team in for long.
“I love the team,” she said. “They’re fun, supportive. We can be silly together.”