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by Cate Westenhover

158 people move to Austin every day, and the Austin natives are getting scarcer. I’m one of them – I was lucky enough to grow up here, and five years away at college was all I needed to absolutely confirm that I belong here.

I was the black sheep of the family for leaving at all, although I barely did. It was assumed I would follow my parents and older siblings in attending UT Austin.

Cate 1Sic ‘Em

Steve Sisson, our coach at Rogue now, was the coach at UT during my senior year of high school. Steve hosted me for a visit; I met the team, and sat in his office underneath his Pre poster while we talked training. He had dinner at my house with my parents. My dream of being a longhorn seemed close.

But rebel child that I was, I ended up accepting a last-minute scholarship to run track at Baylor, 90 miles up the road. Between academic and athletic aid, Baylor was cheaper, and I followed the money. Turning down the opportunity to compete for UT was difficult, and telling Steve on the phone that I’d accepted another offer was even harder.

Baylor treated me well, and there’s no doubt in my mind that it was the place for me.

Cate 2No mercy for Jacob’s alma mater 

But I could never quite get Austin out of my head. There were the summers spent at home, running countless laps of Town Lake, when UT seemed so close.  Also, since Baylor and UT were both in the Big 12, we raced each other a lot. Steve always cheered for me, even when we hadn’t talked for months. He never held it against me that I went to Baylor.

After five and a half years and two degrees at Baylor, I was done with school but not with running. I knew I wanted to be part of a post-collegiate group, but I’d missed my last year of competing at Baylor thanks to an injury, and my prospects of joining a team seemed bleak. Like any wanderlust-filled college grad I’d schemed about moving to Colorado or Arizona to make my living in the mountains. I’d never considered joining Rogue AC even though it was right under my nose; joining the hometown team and staying in Austin seemed too easy.

I moved back home after graduation in December, unsure of the future and a little demoralized. While I scoped out the vague future, I took a job at Rogue Running, the retail side of Rogue. I’d worked there the summer before, and I was impressed with their authenticity and dedication to Austin’s running community through the hundreds of runners they coach each year. It was easy to see that this was where I wanted to work, being around people who shared my passion. After a couple weeks, it became clear that this was where I should run, too.

Steve was kind enough to bring me on the Rogue AC team as out of shape as I was, and I started workouts with the team in February.  I think what made me feel really welcome at Rogue though was when Steve told me “I’m only sorry I didn’t get to coach you during college too.”

I found a home, and it was here all along. Rogue IS Austin, and I’m so proud to be part of an organization that supports Austin’s runners so deeply. It’s an honor to rep Rogue on the retail floor and now on the race course.

Cate 3

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Posted on March 31, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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