A member of Dr. Phillips long distance cross-country/track-and-field teams, Kaufman became co-captain this season for the Panthers.
A co-captain on the Dr. Phillips girls cross-country and track-and-field teams, Sydney Kaufman is a distance runner who enjoys battling the competition — while going at her own pace. Although she refers to herself as a “mediocre runner,” what she lacks in speed, she makes up for in motivating her team and helping it get ready for the next meet.
When did you first get into running?
I had running clubs in elementary school and stuff like that, but I joined the track team when I got to middle school. I just got into it — it was something my family did a lot, and a lot of my friends were doing it and honestly, it was something where I felt like it was a sport where you can improve when you go to practice and you put in the work.
At what point in your running career did you first start getting competitive?
I struggled a lot in middle school to get the drive to be better, because the coaching is very different when you’re at that level. I think starting at the end of my freshman year, I started to realize that just because I’m slow right now doesn’t mean I have to stay slow.
What has been the most fun aspect of running at DP? How about the most difficult?
In terms of the most fun, I would definitely say my team — we come out here and be together every day, and the motivation I get from them helps me to run. The most difficult aspect is the obvious, being a student-athlete. It’s hard to balance. I take a lot of AP classes this year and things like that as a junior, so the balance between things like that can be difficult, but in the end I know I’m getting better when I’m out here.
How do you balance your time between school and running?
Honestly, it’s just a matter of budgeting your time and knowing when you’re taking on too much. Running is considered one of the best sports in terms of being a student, because it teaches you a lot about managing your time, understanding where you’re at and it’s supposed to be good for your mental health, actually.
What has been a highlight for you during your time here?
I think being able to — this year especially — not only run faster but be a part of the motivation for my team. Being a team captain this year, I get to kind of mentor some of the younger girls.
Were you named co-team captain this year?
Yes, so we had a lot of seniors on the team leave last year, and we (Kaufman and Isabelle Nemcik) stepped up for it — we have no seniors on the team, so juniors are the oldest. But both of us — Isabelle and I have been on the team since freshman year.
Are you a cat or a dog person?
I’m a dog person. I’m not sure if this was a dream or a memory, but as a child, I believe I was bitten by a cat, so there’s that. I have a dog, his name is Kiwi, and he is annoying, but you know, I still love him.