Good as Gold

Tom Batters
Kalla Gold

Kalla Gold did not even like running when she was in seventh grade.

When Eureka High School cross country coach Brett Charlton first asked her if she wanted to give it a try, she politely declined.

“I could do sprints, but there was no way I wanted to run a three-mile race,” she said. “But, coach Charlton convinced me to try it. It was really hard at first, but it’s not so bad now.”

Gold finished fifth in the state as a freshman in 2008. She added another medal (eighth place) last year as a sophomore.

She is on pace to become one of the most decorated runners in school history. Last spring, she won the 400-meter dash state title as part of the Hornets track team that finished third in the state.

“She has everything you would want a distance runner to have,” Charlton said. “She’s athletic. She has good endurance. She’s competitive and focused. Even though she didn’t have experience in cross country, I knew she would do well if she worked at it.”

Gold said those first few three-mile runs were difficult, but she gained confidence after each one.

“I was determined to get better every time,” she said. “I didn’t always know what I was doing out there, but I was determined to do the best I could.”

Gold suffered a stress fracture injury and had to miss six weeks during her freshman season, which makes her fifth place finish even more remarkable, Charlton said.

“You don’t see many freshman who can come back from an injury like that, and go on to win a medal at the state meet,” he said. “That just says a lot about the type of person she is. She has a great work ethic.”

Last year, she overcame a groin injury and finished eighth at State on a 90-degree day.

“It was so hot out there,” she said. “I just tried to drink as much water as possible. And, I paced myself so I wouldn’t get too tired.”

This year, Charlton said Gold has a shot at another medal, and maybe even a state title.

“On a good day, she can win it,” he said.

Gold said she is working on pacing herself throughout the season so that she does not burn out prior to the big state meet in November.

Charlton said that is always a concern for somebody with Gold’s competitive nature.

“Her first instinct is to go all out and win every race,” he said. “I would like for her to just focus on improving each week. There’s no point in winning every race if it’s going to wear you out too much. Its a long season. You have to be strong in the end.”