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East County Athlete of the Week: Kai Soderberg

The ODA cross country runner talks his time in New York and his best piece of advice.

Kai Soderberg.
Kai Soderberg.
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Kai Soderberg is a senior cross country runner at The Out-of-Door Academy. He finished first overall (19:20.31) at a five-school, 5K meet at Saint Stephen's Episcopal School on Sept. 26. 

When did you start running?

I've been for running for six years. I started in seventh grade at Skaneateles High in Skaneateles, N.Y. My father (John Soderberg), he saw that I was athletic and into sports, so he said, 'Hey, you should try cross country.' Some of my friends were doing it, so I joined with them and I ended up loving it.

What is the appeal of running?

I like the competition. Waiting at the starting line before the gun fires, the adrenaline rush, it's great.

Do you have a preference between cross country and track and field?

Not really. I guess track because I do the 400 and 800 meters, and those are a bit shorter races. 

Did you play other sports?

I did Krav Maga and karate in third and fourth grade.

What is your favorite running memory?

Last year, qualifying for states in the 800. I just made it, I came in fourth place (at 2:02.85) and I saw my coach (Jeff Taylor) with a big smile on his face running over to me. That was a great time. 

What is your favorite food?

I love fried chicken. No particular place, any fried chicken whatsoever.

What is your favorite TV show or movie?

My favorite show is probably 'House,' I absolutely loved watching that. My favorite movie so far is 'Star Wars: Rogue One.' 

What hobbies do you have?

I love to do archery during summer camps and outside of camp. I used to practice it quite a lot, but since I moved from New York to here (in the middle of his sophomore year), I haven't been able to do it as much. 

What is your favorite subject in school?

Science, especially anatomy and biology. I have always been fascinated with science and I want to be a doctor when I'm older. 

What is your dream vacation spot?

Probably Germany. My family lived in the Netherlands for three years, and I visited the Christmas markets over in Germany. I love that area and I would like to vacation there. 

What is the best advice you have received?

During the last part of a race, always dig deep and go for it. Even if you think you have nothing left, sprint and leave everything out there. For some of my races, I knew I could have gone faster at the end. The races where I have gone all-out and actually finished strong are the ones I feel good about. 

What is something that makes you laugh hard?

Seeing my two dogs (Koda, a Bernese Mountain Dog and Roo, a Border Collie/Australian Cattle Dog mix) playing. They are goofy and they make the funniest faces ever when trying to steal toys from each other. 

"Finish this sentence: Kai Soderberg is ... "

... Charming. (Laughs.) I don't know. My parents always say I'm charming. I don't really see why they think that, but I'll say what my parents say.