Women's Track & Field / Distance / Junior / Germantown, Wis.
Majors: Molecular Engineering and Biology
Khia Kurtenbach is a junior runner on the Maroon women's track and field team. Kurtenbach earned a pair of All-American awards after finishing sixth in the indoor 3,000 meters (9:46.36) and fifth in the indoor 5,000 meters (16:54.75) at the NCAA Division III Championships over the weekend.
Head Coach Chris Hall: "Khia had a fantastic national meet this weekend being named All-America in two events by placing sixth in the 5,000-meter run and coming back afterwards to place fifth in the 3,000-meter run. Khia's time in the 5,000 was the second fastest ever run by a UChicago athlete (16:54.75) only behind multiple NCAA champion Rhaina Echols. This was a 13 second indoor PR for Khia. I felt she also had a great performance in the 3,000-meter run and a really fantastic double. Coming off such a hard effort in the 5K to place higher in the 3,000 is extremely difficult and for the second year in-a-row, Khia was able to handle this double as well as anyone in the country."
Teammate Madeleine Horvath: "Khia is easily one of the most incredible people I know. She is a smart, talented, dedicated, and an amazing teammate and friend. Around the team, Khia leads by example. She sets a goal and finds a way to accomplish it (side note: even though she is in STEM, she decided she wanted to work for a hedge fund, and she has an internship at Bridgewater this summer). She shows up to practices and races ready to find a way to get better and help her teammates improve. Her positive attitude towards running is uplifting even on the hardest workout days. She cares immensely about our team of mermaids, and she is the first person I go to if I need advice about running or anything else. I am lucky to call Khia my teammate, best friend, and designated conference roommate.
Last weekend at nationals was just one example of Khia's ability to show up and succeed. The field was very competitive this year, but Khia approached both the 3k and 5k with an intelligent race strategy that she executed beautifully. I've never seen a person hurt as much as she did in that last lap of the 5k, and she kept pushing for a great finish. She has been an All-American every time she has raced at nationals. Swimming, cross country, indoor track, outdoor track ... it doesn't matter. Khia knows how to compete against any field and she never lets other runners intimidate her. The confidence and determination she shows in running inspire me in every aspect of my life.
I am proud of Khia for her accomplishments on and off the track because I know how hard she has worked to deserve success. She will go very far in anything she sets her mind to and we are so excited to see what the rest of her career holds!"
Kurtenbach Quick Facts
- In her free time, Khia likes to read, bake gluten-free treats and watch Game of Thrones.
- Khia has seven pet llamas at her home in Wisconsin.
- Khia always drinks a cup of room-temperature coffee about an hour before she races.
Click here for other 2016-17 OOC/WAA Athletes of the Week