Q&A with Katie and Ava Kopec


Photo by Isabel Soto

Distance runners Katie and Ava Kopec rise to the top

After only two years, the Kopec sisters have earned the top women’s varsity spots on the Whitney Distance team. Katie Kopec (junior) and Ava Kopec (sophomore) create a power duo that is a force to be reckoned with. 


Q: What made you guys choose to do cross country?
Ava: We’ve been running cross country since we were young. Our whole family ran, and we just knew we would. The cross country team always seemed like a fun way to get better at running as well as a way to meet new people. 

Q: Are there some Pros and Cons about running with your sister?
Katie: Running is a tough sport and takes a lot of mental and physical strength, especially on long runs. Being able to have my sister there to push me to get better helps both me and her. Being with each other through all of our good and bad days have made us closer. The friendly competition is definitely there but at the end of the day, we are proud and happy for each other. When we joined Whitney Distance, we became a team.

Q: Do you guys plan to continue running in the future?
Ava: We plan to run in college and have our eyes on some school records. Overall we want to continue running for a very long time.  

Q: Did you guys plan to be a power duo, or did it just happen?
Katie: It was not planned, but we have been running together for a years. Guess that really affected how we did when we joined cross country. We didn’t expect to be so close [in running ability and race times]. 

Q: How did you feel making varsity as a freshman?
Katie: It was definitely a surprise. I wanted to make varsity. I just didn’t know that I would make it so quickly. When I first joined with all the upperclassmen I thought they were scary and intimidating, but as the season went on, we got really close.
Ava: When I joined varsity I was so nervous and excited. I didn’t think that the girls would be so kind and welcoming. They treated me like a younger sister and always had my back.

Q: How do you balance school, cross country and other activities?
Ava: I honestly didn’t know how I would handle gymnastics and cross country. It takes a lot of organization. I really like having a color-coded planner — I find it helps me the most.
Katie: Having a lot of hard classes and being in leadership can make it really challenging to have time for everything. It takes a lot of time management as well as knowing how to prioritize certain things.

Q: How would you describe your relationship with each other?
Katie: We’ve always been extremely close. We are like best friends and when we joined cross country we became a team. We hang out a lot and are able to bond, laugh and relate on a lot of different things. Being with each other a lot and being able to drive with each other helps us to have a really strong relationship.

Katie ran an 18:07 in the Division 2 Section Finals Nov. 13 at Willow Hill in Folsom, making her Section Champion. She advances to the State Championship level and will race Nov. 27 in Clovis.