It takes a unique person to be a runner. It takes even more dedication and desire to want to be a distance runner in three different seasons. This is the collegiate goal of Rebecca Kuskie.
“I haven't decided between Eastern Oregon University (EOU) or Northwest Christian University (NCU) which is where my sister is currently at,” said Kuskie. “They actually do cross country indoor track and outdoor track there are three seasons so you can't really do another sport. It's kind of like three different sports by itself.”
Most athletes start as early as possible. For Rebecca, it was the influence of her sisters that motivated her even if she started a little later than some.
“I think it's because my sister has always been really good at sports and she's been really athletic,” said Rebecca. “I think that's what motivated me because I started sports after both of my sisters. So seeing them play maybe I wanted to do it.”
However, there is a rivalry...sometimes.
“Not necessarily with Alyssa because I have come to accept that she is better at basketball. It's not really my sport. I am better at running than I am at basketball. But with Jovie there was a rivalry this whole year during cross-country to see who's faster and competing with each other.”
Kuskie excels as a runner but thoroughly enjoys basketball and will miss it.
“My favorite athletic activity is basketball because it's a team sport and I like playing with my friends,” Rebecca said. “Honestly, I enjoy being with my friends and getting to go to the practices together and just being around people that I've been around my whole life. You start to get into a groove together and it's really cool to see it all come together when everything finally clicks and you start making baskets. It's just fun to be able to experience that with my friends.”
However, she is not defined by athletics and finds other activities to fill her time.
“I like being involved; having something else to fill my time with other than just school,” she said. “I like to be outside in nature, I'm a dog lover. My dog is my most prized possession.”
In addition to her family including her dad Damon and mom Nicole; Rebecca has been helped by her coaches.
“For running is definitely my cross country coach Kitty Norcutt,” said Kuskie. “She's inspired me to become as good a runner as I have been and she is kind of like a second mom to me. She was always there for me whenever I need something. If I have something super important to do she is very understanding and will let me do it. She's just been like a second mom.”
Although Kuskie has received awards such as the Las Vegas Review-Journal for best of Nevada Preps first team and a state track championship in 2018; there have been disappointments.
“I did really bad at state this year for cross country so that's definitely a big regret,” she said. “I kind of got cut off at the start of the race and then I just kind of panicked and didn’t really recover after that. It was just a bad race.”
Rebecca’s family has provided motivation throughout her life and they are an important part of the next big decision; where to go to college.
“NCU is farther than EOU that's kind of why I like EOU more. EOU is only five and a half hours away; where NCU is eight and I kind of want to be closer to my parents. I don't really like going far away.”
Of course, the opportunity to run is also important.
“It's mostly based on running because I haven't really made a decision on what I want to do in college yet,” said Kuskie. “So I've mostly just been looking at their running programs and I've been in touch with both of their coaches. NCU, the reason I am looking at that is because my sister is there too.”
Most athletes enjoy the camaraderie that a team provides. Rebecca is looking forward to this at the next level.
“I have never run with a cross-country team before; we have never had enough people to have a team,” she said. “So I think that's why it's kind of different for me because I wouldn't know what it's really like to run with a cross country team and to be out there with each other, pushing each other. For the guys we do [have enough runners] for girls we only had four girls this year and you need seven for a team. My only year that we had one was my freshman year but I was the only one that qualified for state.”