LAKEWOOD - One of Bear Creek’s own has taken her talents to Jamaica.
Kara Lubieniecki, a 2007 graduate of Bear Creek High School, competed for her country as a member of USA Track & Field Team at the NACAC (North America, Central American, & Caribbean) Cross Country Championships last month in Mandeville, Jamaica.
Lubieniecki finished in seventh place in the 6K cross country race with a time of 22:02. Canada’s Natasha Fraser won the event with a time of 21:07.
But this is only the beginning for Lubieniecki. A new member of USA Track & Field, Lubieniecki is just kicking off her post-collegiate running career.
“I’ve made a huge progression in my competitive running career, but I still have a long way to go, this race was just a stepping stone for me,” Lubieniecki said.
Lubieniecki was a state high school qualifier for all four years at Bear Creek High School and went on to run for California State University Chico.
However, Lubieniecki wasn’t ready to give up running and instead she worked rigorously to continue a running career, which paid off with a 13th-place finish at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships, helping make her one of the top choices to represent the United States in Jamaica.
“I just knew I loved the sport too much to quit after my collegiate eligibility was up. I wasn’t ready to give up that identity, so I was going to see what would happen if I kept pursuing it,” Lubieniecki said.
Lubieniecki was a two-time All American and three-time All-West Region cross country performer for the Wildcats and won the 2010 California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) title. She was a two-time CCAA Champion on the track where she earned a pair of All-America honors and five All-CCAA accolades.
Now, she is a member of Team USA.
“It is an incredible honor for me to represent my home internationally. I owe so many people from my family to friends to high school coaches, college coaches, to past and current teammates for this accomplishment. In that respect I feel as though I am representing all of them as well,” Lubieniecki said.
Lubieniecki has moved back to Colorado, and recently moved to Boulder more specifically to train with her group (Hudson’s Training) while applying to graduate school at the University of Colorado.
Lubieniecki currently applying for a Master’s degree in exercise physiology. Eventually she wants to use her experience as an athlete combined with physiological knowledge to help people live healthier lives.
The NACAC Cross Country Championships featured teams and athletes from North American, Central American and Caribbean nations.
Organized locally by the NACAC Local Organizing Committee and the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, the Championships saw over 150 athletes and officials representing USA, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, Bermuda, Bahamas and Jamaica.