Kaia Schmidt excels as a two-sport athlete for West Linn High School
It's not hard to find multisport athletes at just about every high school in the state. It's much harder to find students like Kaia Schmidt.
A senior at West Linn High School, Schmidt is one of the rare athletes competing in two sports at the same time. This fall, Schmidt is one of the captains of the Lions' girls soccer team, and she recently started competing for the cross country team, as well.
"I love it," said Schmidt of competing in two sports simultaneously. "I love cross country, I love soccer. Doing both is just amazing."
She is not just showing up to collect a varsity letter, either. Schmidt is excelling in both sports.
Last season, Schmidt was named to the All-Three Rivers League Second Team for soccer, and as a senior, she is part of a defense that has allowed just one goal so far in 2022.
As for cross country — a sport in which she had not competed since middle school — Schmidt made a glorious season debut. At the Meriwether Classic on Sept. 16, Schmidt finished in 19:15.0 to take 18th place out of 209 varsity runners. She also had the best time of any Lion by more than 40 seconds.
For all the success she is having in her fall sports, however, all of it is prologue to her true passion: track and field.
After winning a Three Rivers League district title in the 800-meter race, Schmidt took third place in the event at the 2022 OSAA 6A State Championships at Hayward Field. She also was part of the Lions' 4x400 relay team that took second at districts and seventh at state. In addition to those events, Schmidt also ran the 1,500 at districts, placing fifth overall.
Now a senior, Schmidt is hoping that the extra work she puts in this fall will pay dividends this spring.
"I am actually trying to run in college, so that pushed my decision to (join the cross country team)," said Schmidt of adding the second sport. "I think the cross country season is helping me prepare for track."
Schmidt has yet to decide on where she wants to compete in college, but she will know more soon.
"I have some official visits coming up later this month," Schmidt said, "so I'm pretty excited about that."
The first comes at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, California. After that, she has four other visits lined up in the Golden State, including trips to Santa Clara University, UC Irvine, UC San Diego and — the biggest of all — UC Berkeley.
Competing at the Division I level has been a goal of Schmidt's for some time now, and she is starting to feel a tinge of excitement as the finish line draws nearer.
"It's been exciting starting the process," Schmidt said of her college recruitment.
As for the logistical strains of competing in two different sports at the same time, the West Linn senior is thankful for her coaches' support.
"My coaches are very supportive," Schmidt said. "I met with both of them, and they look forward to me doing both (sports)."
Of course, the support isn't just external. To keep performing in both soccer and cross country at a high level, Schmidt has learned to create a support system in her own head, too.
"Don't let the bad moments get you down," said Schmidt, reciting the first part of the mantra that has kept her motor running this fall. "Keep working hard, because you know what you're working for."
For Kaia Schmidt, that work is almost sure to result in a Division I scholarship for track.
In the meantime, Schmidt is excelling for the Lions in both soccer and cross country — and she doesn't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
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