Katie Billman, the defending Central League champion in the 200-meter run, was ready to hit the ground running this spring for the Conestoga girls’ track team.
The versatile senior also finished second in the 100-meter run at the Central League track championships as a junior last spring, and helped the Conestoga girls 4×400 relay place in the top three.
Billman didn’t slow down when the track action moved indoors last winter, setting PRs in the 55 meter and 60 meter runs, and running the leadoff leg for the Conestoga girls 4×400 relay that finished eighth at the PTFCA indoor track & field championships, won a state medal and qualified for New Balance Indoor Nationals.
“I was so excited to let the [winter track] momentum flow into the spring season,” said Billman. “The spring has always been my favorite season because of the fun and competitive weekend meets — invitationals, Penn Relays — and the Central League dual meets. While indoor is highly competitive, there is nothing like running outside on the longer track.
“It was extremely devastating for me to lose the season. I had just come off of a great indoor season and was so pumped and excited to run my final races with ’Stoga and to improve on my times. Most importantly, I was looking forward to spending my last couple of months of high school track before college with my teammates. We are all so close and I couldn’t wait to run with them and spend as much time as possible with them this season.”
Conestoga track coach Mark Carberry said, “Katie was fortunate to race alongside some dominant student-athletes [as an underclassman], but when they graduated, Katie and my new coaching staff had to make significant adjustments. She shone when given the opportunity. Katie was one of our team captains this year and was greatly looking forward to an explosive outdoor season.”
During the winter track season, Billman ranked in the 2020 MileSplit Pennsylvania Top 20 in the 55 meter, 60 meter and 200 meter runs. She was a 2020 DVGTCA Meet of Champions qualifier in the 60 meter run, 200 meter run and 4×400 relay.
“Last fall, my team and I hosted preseason where we did a lot of endurance running and interval training to get back in shape for the winter indoor season,” said Billman. “In addition, I cross trained and worked hard twice a week, and I worked with a personal trainer on strength and conditioning throughout the summer and into the fall.”
The hard work paid off at the state indoor championships, where Billman earned her first state medal.
“We had trained and worked so hard all season, then ran our hearts out that day,” said Billman. “We went into it just planning on just running to try to get a PR, but ended up improving on our best time by over three seconds. In previous meets we continued to make significant improvements each time we ran so setting such an improved time and qualifying for New Balnace Nationals was just icing on the cake.
“We were all so excited and I am so honored that I got to share that moment with my best friends. I was so proud of them, as they are all underclassmen, and wish so desperately that I could run with them again.”
Last spring, Billman not only sparkled at the Central League track championships, but also was a semifinalist in the 200 meter run at the PIAA District 1 AAA championship. She also ran in Penn Relays as a freshman, sophomore and junior. She particularly remembers her experience at Franklin Field as a freshman.
“I had heard of the event before but never thought I would have the chance to run in such a historic and internationally known meet,” said Billman. “I ran in the 4×100 relay with three teammates who were upperclassmen and it was an amazing experience. There really is nothing like running in that stadium and in the atmosphere. We qualified for PIAA District One AAA Championships that day and ran one of the best times in our school’s history.”
Asked what has been her most memorable experience as a Conestoga track athlete, Billman responded, “Running with my teammates. I enjoy spending every day with them, getting through hard workouts and races together, and having so many team bonding hangouts. I have had wonderful experiences running at prestigious meets throughout the years, but sharing those experiences with my teammates has made them even more important. The Kevin Dare Invitational at Penn State has been my favorite indoor meet and facility and Penn Relays has been my favorite overall experience.
“I also enjoyed my leadership role as co-captain over the past senior season. I love training and mentoring underclassmen and showing them how amazing this sport can be. I always had teammates to look up to for inspiration when I was younger and always wanted to the share the same experience with the underclassmen on our team.”
Off the track, Billman is a two-year member of the National Honor Art Society and a four-year member of the Conestoga Studio Art program. She also was on the costume crew for four of Conestoga’s award-winning drama and musical theater productions, and has contributed to other school-sponsored clubs such as Habitat for Humanity and Athletes Helping Actively.
This fall, Billman will attend Northeastern University.
“Since the beginning of my college search, I have always known I wanted to be in or near a city; I visited Boston and immediately fell in love,” said Billman. “I love Northeastern’s campus as well as the focus on all the experiential (including co-op) and global learning opportunities. I am currently undecided about my exact major, but I hope to explore the fields of writing, journalism, communications and media studies.
“I have also been in contact with the track coaches at Northeastern and have been invited to try-out for their D1 team in the fall and hopefully will walk-on to the team for the indoor and spring seasons.”
Carberry said, “I’m confident that Katie can do great things at the next level.”
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