Anderson heading to Jr. Pan Am Games |

Anderson heading to Jr. Pan Am Games

summit daily news
Summit Daily/Brad OdekirkWhitney Anderson

Running is running for Whitney Anderson ” it apparently doesn’t matter what the event is.

In her first attempt in a 5,000-meter race on a track at the U.S.A. Track Field Jr. Nationals in Carson, Calif., on Friday, Anderson finished second, qualified for the U.S.A. Junior Team, and crossed the finish line 18 seconds faster than any high school girl in the history of Colorado.

“I just took it lap by lap and tried to maintain my pace,” Anderson said of her final race as a high schooler, which was the equivalent of 3.1 miles.

Anderson’s time, 16 minutes, 33.32 seconds, was less than three seconds behind the winner, Nicole Blood, but it was still good enough to land her a spot in the 2005 Pan American Junior Athletics Championships in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, at the end of July.

Anderson, who won five Colorado state championships in track and field and cross country and one in Alaska, earned a full scholarship to Duke University, where she will run for the cross country and track teams.

Anderson’s coach, Lyle Knudson, has been coaching high-level long-distance runners for a long time. The names that now sit next to Anderson’s are what Knudson called “the who’s who of high school long-distance running.”

“It’s the biggest meet she’s ever run in,” Knudson said. “When you work with somebody one on one, you become almost a part of the family, because it’s a lot more to it than running technical workouts and meets. When somebody does that sort of thing and does so well, you just feel so happy for them.”

Going into the meet, Knudson and Anderson said they tried to have fun and keep the mood light ” even though a spot on the national team was up for grabs.

“I didn’t think about (the Pan Am Games) at all before the race,” Anderson said. “(Knudson) told me if I got 16:40 it would be awesome.”

She beat their goal by seven seconds, but Anderson still isn’t satisfied.

“I felt like I could have gotten closer to the leader if I had been more aggressive,” Anderson said. “That’s what’s been going through my mind since the race.”

The Jr. Pan Am Games, which includes teams from every country in the Western Hemisphere, will be a big step toward a successful college career for Anderson.

“It makes me really excited about college,” Anderson said. “I just want to continue to have that drive in me.”

After the Pan-Am Games in late July, the Anderson-Knudson runner-coach relationship comes to an end and the Duke coaches take over. Knudson said that’s not always a good thing for elite high school runners.

“You certainly hope she gets better, but not everyone does,” Knudson said. “There’s no guarantees that in a different training program, she’ll be able to improve.

“She’s one of the best that I’ve coached at a high school level. For me, it’s just being happy for her. The real joy is seeing the smile on her face and on the face of her family.”

Andy Frame can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at

1. Whitney Anderson, Summit High School, USATF Jr. Nationals, Carson, Calif., 16:33.32. 2005

2. Katelyn Kaltenbach, Smoky Hill High School, 16:51.78, Penn Relays, Philadelphia, Penn. 2004.

3. Melody Fairchild, Boulder High School, 17:00.57, U.S.A. Jr. Summer Games, Providence, R.I. 1989

1. Caitlin Chock, Calif., 15:52.88. 2004

2. Cathy Schiro, N.H., 16:00.7. 1985

3. Mary Shea, N.C., 16:13.7. 1979

4. Erin Keough, Virg., 16:14.69. 1986

5. Nicole Blood, N.Y., 16:30.90. 2005

6. Julia Stamps, Calif., 16:31.2. 1995

7. Whitney Anderson, Colo., 16:33.12. 2005

8. Kim Gallagher, Penn., 16:34.7, 1979

9. Erin Davis, N.Y., 16:43.47. 1995

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User