“Abby means so much to the team and program, and we’re going to feel her loss when she graduates,” Bush’s first-year head coach Karsten Kaufmann said. “It’s been a fun journey to see initially at most, a curiosity about running at the next level, and through these last few months I’ve watched that develop into a commitment, and pure excitement and a passion for the sport. I’m excited to see what the future holds for her.”
Abby, who will compete on the cross country and track and field teams at Division III Colorado College (Colorado Springs, Colorado) next year, is looking to end this spring season strong for the Blazers and qualify for the Washington Interscholastic Athletic Association 1A State Championships in the 800 meters. She currently ranks No. 7 in 1A with a time of 2:25.62. The qualifying mark for the 800 is 2:24.36. Abby and Bush will next compete at the Emerald Sound Conference Championships this Thursday, May 12, and Saturday, May 14 at King’s.
“State is really where I want to get to,” Abby said. “For the team, I just want to end strong and celebrate everyone and their accomplishments.”
A former soccer player, it was her teammates on the pitch that convinced her to give track a go in the spring of her Ninth Grade year. A sprinter her first year, Abby transitioned to the middle distances after she was encouraged by head coach James Batey to continue to pursue running and to join the Blazers cross country program.
“I really loved the environment of the track team and running in general,” Abby said of her experience that first year.”
Abby joined the cross country team as a sophomore, and was awarded Emerald City League Rookie of the Year. During that year, she helped Bush win the Emerald City League Championship, and advance to the state meet.
Flash forward a few years later, and persevering through the ups and downs of the pandemic—which included no competition in the spring of 2020—Abby has emerged as one of the most competitive middle distance runners for the team.
Starting off in the sprints, Abby made the transition to the middle distance events – 800 and 1,600– the last two seasons. Karsten explained Abby was stuck a bit in the 2:30 range in the 800, but made a breakthrough as she ran a personal-best time of 2:25.62 on Thursday, April 28 at a meet against King’s, taking nearly five seconds off her previous best.
“I really love the 800 because I feel like it's that perfect combination of turning it on and putting it all out there. I also love the strategy of the 800,” Abby said. “I love thinking about my placement during the first lap and then really setting myself up to let it fly during the second lap.”
Added Karsten: “She’s been looking really solid in workouts, and I think she’s in the best shape she’s ever been in.”
Along with the individual events, Abby contributes on the relays and has emerged as a leader on and off the track. Abby said it was during her years with the team and looking up to runners like Lolo Dederer ’20, Ela Nickels ’19, Liya Miksovsky ’21 , played a pivotal role in shaping the type of runner she aspired to be.
“I think looking forward, I wanted to be able to be that leader to the (younger runners) and be able to share my love of running,” she said. “The cross country team has always had this wonderful, positive culture. Being on the cross country team and seeing those leaders helped me think about the kind of leader I want to be on both cross country and track. I want everyone to feel supported - this is a team they can succeed on while feeling welcomed.”
Abby said because she joined track and cross country a little bit later than most, she wasn’t sure about the idea of continuing it at the next level. She didn’t really start looking until she began applying to colleges. Now, with a home at Colorado College, Abby is looking to continue to develop, get faster, and share her passion for the sport at the next level.
“It’s completely shaped my high school experience,” Abby said of being part of the Bush athletics programs. “Some of my closest friends are on these teams and it's definitely taught me a lot about myself. The support that I've felt has been incredible. The leadership skills that I've learned from these teams have been beneficial, and I'm very very grateful to Bush."
Trail Blazers of the Month
Click below to view our previous Trail Blazers of the Month for the 2021-22 academic year: