Amidst all of the hoopla and attention rightfully showered upon our undefeated girls soccer and
football teams this season, one conference power has mostly flown under the radar. Heading
into this weekend’s Regional Championship, the Brebeuf Girls Cross Country team remains
undefeated. They started the year off by winning the Joe Harvey Circle City Conference
Championship at Guerin Catholic. Since then, they have added the Noblesville Hokum Karem,
All-Catholic Championship, Golden Bear Invitational, Marion County Championship, and
Sectional titles to their impressive resume. Most of these events were won in dominating
fashion. For example, they took last weekend’s Sectional team title with runners finishing in 1st ,
2nd , 7th , 9th , and 20th . While the team is exceptionally deep, there is no doubt who the leader is.
Katherine Modrall has won all but one of the aforementioned events (she finished second at the
Golden Bear Invite), and she appears poised to make a run at a top five finish in Terre Haute at
the state finals. She is a gifted runner who also leads through her interactions with teammates
and performance in the classroom.
After shadowing at Brebeuf as an eighth grader, Katherine decided it offered the best fit based on
“the close connections all the students had with the teachers” and “the service aspect…founded
on Jesuit values.” She enrolled and went out for the soccer team, making the junior varsity
squad. She had not considered cross country until she was approached by coaches Karl Knerr
and Nick Klinger. While she had no prior running experience, she decided to give it a try during
the soccer post-season.
“I had always played outside midfielder in soccer, which included lots of running, and running
was always my favorite part,” shared Katherine.
“Our staff is always on the lookout at Brebeuf Jesuit for running talent walking throughout the
building, and Katherine’s name popped up,” explained Coach Knerr. “Once the JV season
(soccer) ended, we had Katherine all to ourselves for the remainder of the season (cross
country).” That year his team made it to semi-state “for the first time in a very long time.”
While this provided a brief glimpse into the future, Katherine’s cross country career was placed
on hold. She made the varsity soccer team as a sophomore and again as a junior. The demands
of playing on teams who would win a national championship one year and a state runners-up title
the next did not allow her to share her attention and efforts with another program.
Still, each passing year’s spring track season further validated her potential to be an elite runner. As a freshman,
she qualified for state as a member of the 3200m relay team. Sophomore year saw her qualify
for state as an individual in the 1600m run. Last spring, she led the 3200m relay team to an 8 th
place finish at state while also finishing 5 th in the individual 800m event.
Once the decision was made to concentrate on distance running full-time, the results quickly
followed. As an example, Katherine’s best time as a freshman was 19:33. She won this year’s
Joe Harvey (the first meet of the year) with a record time of 18:57. Her current personal record
is 17:58 which she ran two weeks ago at the Marion County Championship.
“I found that I had more potential than I expected. Every week I have seen improvement in
myself, and I can’t wait for the rest of the season,” relayed Katherine.
Coach Knerr added, “Being a part of our running community allows her to constantly grow and
While Katherine dearly loves the competitive rush of racing, her team is also very important to
her. “My teammates are my best friends. I love practicing with them every day, and we are all
so supportive of each other in and outside of running. We hang out all of the time on the
weekends. We hold each other accountable for pushing each other to our full potential, and we
have had lots of success with this strategy,” Katherine noted.
When asked about the girls’ interactions, Coach Knerr added, “Terrific, lots of respect and love.
Every girl is there for each other and when that happens watch out! There is bound to be a
historic event take place.”
There is also a mutual bond between the team and their coaches. When asked about Coach
Knerr, Katherine responded, “My relationship with Coach Knerr is excellent. I trust him
completely, and he trusts me as an athlete. Coach Knerr is always giving me the best advice on
how to get an edge on some of the competition, and he is always so motivating.”
“Our greatest strength as a coaching staff is trust and collaboration. Katherine knows that the
entire staff cares deeply about her well-being first, then comes her running. Our relationship is
built on trust and commitment. Katherine has a strong relationship with all of our coaches,
including Coach Klinger who has formed a strong bond with the girls team,” added Coach Knerr.
Away from running, Katherine is a 4.0 student who her coach says is, “always looking for
leadership opportunities and ways to support her fellow teammates.” The summer before last
she attended a service trip to Costa Rica where she helped install handicap accessible facilities in
schools. While there, she also helped teach English to elementary students.
In the classroom, she really enjoys math and science. Her current plans are to study chemistry or
neuroscience as an undergrad in order to eventually gain admittance to medical school. While
she plans on running at the next level, she has not narrowed down her choice of universities at
As the cross country season rapidly approaches its crescendo, Katherine still has a few goals in
mind. “My running goals for the rest of the season are for my team to make it to state, and I
would love to podium as an individual at the state meet. I would also like to break the school
record which is a (time of) 17:53.”
When asked how she would like to be remembered, she stated, “I want my legacy at Brebeuf to
be a hard-working student athlete who was very motivated in school, but also in athletics. I want
to be remembered as a teammate that always gave it my best and pushed everyone else to do the
Katherine and the rest of the Lady Braves will be competing in the Noblesville Regional on
Saturday at 11:15.
Picture Credit to Joe Kemper of Kemper and Son Photography – http://www.kemperfoto.com/