|Kindschi said the key to her success|
is that she found the right coach and the right team.
"BYU has the greatest coach in the world."
In 2001, while at the Mt. SAC Relays in California, Kindschi saw a big group of BYU women's track athletes laughing and smiling, and she wanted to be a part of that. After her closest teammate at South Dakota State transferred to the University of Florida, Kindschi knew it was time to move on. She was impressed by the honor code, BYU's high standards and the beauty of Utah, so she transferred to BYU and has never regretted it.
"I have felt grateful everyday for making that decision," Kindschi said. "People have welcomed me, and I have met my closest friends at BYU."
At her first race as a Cougar, Kindschi quickly proved that she could compete at the Division I level by placing first in the 5K at the Great Race in San Francisco, Calif., with a time of 18:11.1.
Last year, as she headed into nationals for cross country, she and BYU Head Coach Patrick Shane hoped that she might be named an All-American, but she had not even considered placing in the top 10. Kindschi exceeded her expectations by placing seventh at nationals and helping lead BYU to be the NCAA Division I Cross Country Champions. . . .
At nationals Kindschi's teammate Michaela Manova placed fifth, which is the highest a BYU female athlete has ever placed at the National Cross Country Championships. Kindschi's seventh place finish is the second highest finish ever.
"I was hoping for a top 25 finish, but I saw Michaela and knew I would prefer running with a teammate," Kindschi said. "I felt really good and the pace wasn't too fast so I just stayed with her the whole race." Kindschi finished just seven seconds behind Manova. In 2001, Kindschi was also named an All-American in cross country and indoor track.
Coach Shane said with over 300 athletes competing at nationals, Kindschi's high finish reflects her talent and willingness to put the team first. He said she proved that she could do for others what she could not do for herself.
"She is outgoing, fun and she sparkles," Shane said. "She is always doing something for someone else and she is a remarkable young woman."
Kindschi said the key to her success is that she has found the right coach and the right team. "BYU has the greatest coach in the world," she said. He has taught her how to work smarter and has created a great environment for running. Coach Shane has led BYU women's cross country team to 11 consecutive conference titles and three national championships and has been named National Coach of the Year three times.
She said there are so many factors other than just herself that have helped her succeed. "There is no one certain ingredient that leads to success," Kindschi said. "You just have to find what works for you."
Kindschi's parents are one ingredient that have helped her be successful. "They are unconditionally supportive," she said. "They don't push me, they just encourage me."
In addition to her parents, Kindschi said the other girls on the team have been a great support for her through their guidance and examples of hard work. Kindschi said her favorite part about running is being with her teammates. . . .
"I would not trade this team for any other," said Shane. "We have lots of talent, lots of depth and we have athletes who have proved that they know how to get it done at the national level."
As for her future, Kindschi will apply to medical school after she graduates in April in zoology with an emphasis in human biology. She hopes to attend the University of North Dakota, in Grand Forks, N.D., so she can be close to her family and friends. While she is excited to move on after college, she currently has her sights set on another national championship for her team.
Story written by Johny Wudel | BYU Communications | 2002 |