Cate Urbani - Making 2019 Moves But You Don't Know Her...Yet

Houston Bellaire sophomore Cate Urbani wins 3200m at 2019 Ram Tough Relays

I admit it, a lot of times, we get caught up in the superstars of track and field and cross country. Who won? Who ran fast? Who jumped far?

Superstars in athletics keeps sporting news going. The likes of Lebron James, Tom Brady, Jack Nicklaus, and etc. However, there are some athletes in every sport that work just as hard as the superstars, but don't necessarily get the same headlines and attention. In amateur athletics, many of these are trying to make the cut and get to the top of their sport and events.

Even if you don't know their names, where they're from, or what they do, they are there. Especially, in our track and field. It's not always about being the best, but it's about doing your best.

This weekend, I met a couple athletes who many of you may not know. Admittedly, I didn't know them either. But, I am glad I had the chance to meet them. One specifically, is making moves already in the 2019 outdoor track season that just began.

Cate Urbani - Houston Bellaire

Last Saturday, it was cold. To someone who was just standing there with a camera and not running, jumping, throwing, or warming up to do so, trust me it was very cold. But, there was Cate Urbani who was stripped down to her uniform, that I'm sure wasn't doing much to keep her warm. She crossed the finish line surprising the heck out of me by winning girls 3200m. 

Urbani instantly became one of my favorite athletes of all time! "What do you do at MileSplit," she asked. I began to tell her. She said she reads a lot of articles that myself and others write for the site and she enjoys reading them. She said she was glad to meet me. Now, I'll be the first to tell you, there is no better way to meet someone than to initially stroke their ego like that, whether intentional or not. 

However, the Houston Bellaire sophomore had more than flattery going for her on this day. She also ran pretty well, by going 11:39 for the win in the girls 3200m. However, her race was more significant that just a pretty good run.

Myself, being a former volunteer cross country and track coach at Houston Westbury High School, I am familiar with some Houston Independent School District distance running history. I immediately knew that even though the running conditions were not ideal, her performance was rare for HISD distance runners, in comparison to the recent past.
This weekend's race was not only a PR for Urbani, but as I said, it was also quite an accomplishment in HISD history. Behind the outstanding Julia Heymach (Houston Lamar -2017), it was the second fastest time out of any HISD girl in the last 10 years and she is only the second HISD girl to run under 11:40 over the last decade.
In just her first meet of the year, she joined a very short list of Heymach, Lexi Reamer - 11:42.00 (Houston Lamar - 2013), and Jordan Reeves 11:44.65 (Houston Lamar - 2015) just to even run under 12:00 for the distance.

"Toward the end of the race I was like I can do this."

Cate Urbani - Houston Bellaire Sophomore

In the race, Urbani trailed for most of it until the last 100m. At one point, she even began to lose contact with the leader and dropped back about 5-10m. Urbani said, "I was starting to feel a little tired, but I was just trying to hold on. She (Mary Rodriguez) kinda got ahead of me."

However, she remembered a couple of workouts that she had earlier in the week to help mentally motivate her to keep pushing and not give up. "Toward the end of the race I was like I can do this, I can keep going because we had just did a 400 workout and I was like I can do this."

Urbani proved she isn't just a runner who takes workouts and forgets about them. She is pretty dialed into them and the intentions of each workout. Along with 400 repeats earlier in the week, her coach also had a workout throughout the week that included some 200s. Urbani remembered that workout as well and relied on it to help her with the kick that ultimately proved the be the deciding factor of her coming away with the win.

"I was like, oh no maybe I can't get her. But, then I was like I can do this, we just did some 200s Monday, I practiced my sprints, just give it a shot" She took her shot and it paid off.

This isn't the first time Urbani has tasted success this year. In cross country, she qualified individually for the UIL6A state meet. There she ran a 5K Pr of 18:53.31 for 74th place overall.

No one knows if she will eventually continue on towards Julia Heymach type of accomplishments and times, but realistically, there are very few who will.

One thing is for sure, Urbani is currently one of HISD's bright young distance runners and her mid race cognitive awareness and ability to recall and rely on her workouts could foster continued improvement.