West Stokes Kaitlyn Stone signed a letter of intent on Monday, Nov. 16 to run track at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
“She’s the hardest working kid I’ve coached, and that’s just who she is. She’s dedicated to everything she does whether it’s running, school, or her team,” said coach Benji Knox.
When Stone began the Wildcats track and cross country program as a freshman, Knox knew little about her.
“After watching her the first day, I knew she was going to be good. But she’s gone from being an all-conference runner to one of the top runners in the state, and not just 2A,” Knox said.
The coach is quick to say the teen does far more than win races.
“She’s grown into a leader and does that by example. A lot of times people will say, ‘Kaitlyn’s running on Saturday, I better run too,’” he said.
With dozens of schools vying for her attention, Knox is pleased with her choice in UNC-G.
“It was good for her. She’s going to be successful wherever she goes because of her work ethic. She’ll put in the time and give everything she has. But she’s definitely going to be missed here.”
Stone’s parents, Bart and Mary Lynn, have enjoyed watching their daughter develop into a disciplined athlete.
“I remember being on the track with her when it was snowing. All you could see was white and her footprints,” her father said. “We knew she had a lot of potential. To see the level of commitment when she started at West Stokes with cross country and track was all so positive. As a coach, Benji gave her structure and what she needed to thrive. He has a great style of coaching and the two worked well together.”
Stone’s mother knew she saw something special in her youngest child when the family went on a hiking trip and the teen ran up the mountain.
“She’s an amazing runner, but she’s also an amazing person,” she added.
Signing to a Division 1 school has been Stone’s goal since her sophomore season.
“I became more serious with it,” she said. “Benji’s been a huge factor. He’s helped me progress each year and that’s kept me improving my times.”
Stone said running requires commitment all year round.
“In a lot of sports you can take a couple months off and it’d be fine, but with running if you take even three or four days off you’ve backed yourself up and your performance shows. Consistency is the main thing. You have to put in work every day,” she said.
Stone’s dedication has paid off. The senior has raked in all-conference, all-region, regional champion, and numerous runner of the year awards. She’s broken every distance record at West Stokes, except the 800.
“That’s only because she doesn’t compete in that event much,” Knox said. “She’s less than two seconds away.”
As the fastest lady to run cross country in Stokes County, anyone that knows her, knows it’s only a matter of time.
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.