As befits a woman who once took a semester off of college to work on farms in South America, Kate’s path to the Bowerman Track Club was long and full of detours. She grew up in southern California dabbling in many different sports. Her mom, Kathy Smith, was a fitness pioneer and starred in a popular series of workout videos, so Kate and her sister, Perrie, grew up surrounded by athletics. In high school she both ran track and played soccer until her senior season, when her friends convinced her to come out for Cross Country and help them try to win the 2006 Division IV State championship. The team came home with the title and Kate added the individual win for good measure.
She went on to Yale University and at first spread her attention across multiple dimensions of campus life. During her aforementioned semester off, she reconnected with her love for running and came back with renewed focus. She was an All-American (7th and 5th) in the 800m her junior and senior seasons. A conversation at an alumni event helped convince her to try her hand a professional running, at least through the 2012 Olympic Trials. She trained first with the New Jersey/New York Track Club and then with the Little Wing Project in Bend, OR where she showed great potential but struggled with injury. Another move to Sacramento and the Norcal Distance Project in 2015 led to the long awaited breakthrough. In 2016 she astonished the track world by winning the Olympic Trials at 800m and then making the Olympic final. The following year, she proved it was no fluke by making the World Championship team at 1500m. 2019 saw her twice set personal bests at 1500m. She finished a heartbreaking 5th in a dead heat at the USATF Championships, but avenged that loss with multiple wins during the European season. She capped off the year by winning The Match between Team Europe and Team USA in Minsk.
Kate has jumped right into the BTC community and has shined as a Youth coach. She keeps her teammates laughing and thinking with her self-deprecating and self-reflective style. Kate is always interested in learning new things about herself and world and she and her boyfriend, Patrick, are an essential element of BTC’s wednesday night trivia team.