EMHS's Kaufman First Two-Time Recipient of Annual Award
Zoe Caroline Kaufman is the Mountain View Telegraph's first two-time Female Prep Athlete of the Year.
With the receipt of the 2011-12 award, she also became our first Athlete of the Year, boy or girl, to win the annual award twice. She was the Telegraph's Athlete of the Year when she was a freshman in 2008-09.
Kaufman, who goes by her middle name, finished off her career at East Mountain High in grand fashion. She completed a four-year, state-meet sweep of all the distance running events, including Class 1A/2A cross country's 5 kilometers in the fall, and Class 2A track's 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs in the spring.
In addition, the Cedar Crest resident led the Timberwolves' cross country team to a third-place finish at state back in November. At the time, the victory was the first top-three state finish for any charter-school team in any sport, ever.
Kaufman, despite all that, said she doesn't completely concur that those achievements warrant the recognition she's been getting of late.
"It's OK… It's just that I'm not sure. I just know that at college everyone will be a lot better than me," said Kaufman, who is bound, with a scholarship in hand, for Humboldt State University in Aracata, Calif.
"There are so many girls on my college team, where at my school (EMHS), our team was so tiny," continued Kaufman, who was interviewed during the Great Southwest Track and Field Classic's media day at the University of New Mexico's track May 29. "I'm going to be running in college, but I'm not sure everyone should be making such a big deal out of all of it. In college, I'll probably be about average. It makes all of this feel kind of weird."
Kaufman's athletic accomplishments, however, are definitely a big deal to us here in the East Mountains and Estancia Valley.
HSU is located along the Pacific Coast in Northern California. Her older sister, Georgia Kaufman, was a freshman there this past school year.
The elder sibling was on the Lumberjack women's rowing team, but didn't travel with the Humboldt rowers when they recently won the NCAA Division II national title. Georgia said she decided to return home after school was out prior to the competition because she was homesick.
One gets the feeling that it will be good for both sisters to be together again. Georgia was an excellent runner for East Mountain's Timberwolves in her own right.
"I'm happy that she'll be there," Caroline said. "She's part of the reason I chose to go there. Maybe I'm deluded, but I feel like I'm ready to leave home and be on my own."
Caroline Kaufman managed to win her 12 state gold medals despite nagging injuries and a growth spurt that took her from a waif-like, 5-foot-1 1/2 as a ninth-grader to her current 5 feet, 6 3/4 inches. The medical expertise of her father, Dr. Aaron Kaufman, seemed to aid her in staying on course.
"She got hurt last fall," said her father, who said he is an adherent of a mixture of traditional and alternative medicine methods. "It was probably after the middle of the cross country season. But by the end of the season, she was better. We did some injections, prolotherapy, they call it. She probably would not have been able to compete without that."
Aaron Kaufman is a doctor of osteopathic medicine.
"Prolotherapy uses a dextrose (sugar water) solution, which is injected into the ligament or tendon where it attaches to the bone," according to www.prolotherapy.com. "This causes a localized inflammation in these weak areas which then increases the blood supply and flow of nutrients and stimulates the tissue to repair itself."
Caroline has had to work at staying healthy just as she worked out to stay in shape.
"She had also broken her toe," said her father, whose osteopathic and family practice is out of the Southwest Integrative Health Center in Albuquerque. "Finally, we (he and T'Wolves cross country coach David Naylor) made her sit out a couple meets, and after that she was better. Then, I think she was pretty strong all spring."
Aaron Kaufman said he won't be physically following Caroline to college, however. She'll be in the hands of Humboldt State's athletic trainer next year.
Caroline also has a younger sister, Sarah. She's an East Mountain freshman-to-be. Melissa Wood is their mother.
The last four years, in many ways, were like a marathon for Caroline Kaufman with a lot of hills and valleys along the way.
"I think the main thing is her tremendous work ethic," said Naylor, also the school's athletic director. "She will do whatever is asked of her, whatever it took. And she's got unbridled humility. She cared just as much about our last-place runner as she did herself."
Here are Kaufman's times for her state title races.
2008 — 5K, 18 minutes, 59.
2009 — 1,600 , 5:24.92.
2009 — 3,200, 12:01.30.
2009 — 5K, 18:35.60.
2010 — 1,600 , 5:22.99.
2010 — 3,200, 12:14.35.
2010 — 5K, 19:39.85.
2011 — 1,600 , 5:27.11.
2011 — 3,200, 12:03.53.
2011 — 5K, 19:24.35.
2012 — 1,600 , 5:18.10.
2012 — 3,200, 11:37.72.
"This year was maybe even harder for her to run with her injuries," Naylor said. "But when she was healthy, her times were just as good as the kids from the big schools. She had the fastest time of all the girls (regardless of class) in the (Rio Rancho) Jamboree last year. Now, it will be interesting to see what happens with her in college. It'll depend if she gets into it at that level."
T'Wolves track and field co-coach Therese Dorwart views Kaufman's time at EMHS from a different angle. Kaufman also was guided by Timberwolves track co-coach David Salazar.
"I am so proud and honored that I was able to be around Caroline while she developed as an athlete and as a person from her freshman year," said Dorwart, who indicated she won't be returning to her coaching post next school year because of personal reasons. "Her dedication was amazing. She was the bright spot in practice. She just made it fun."
Kaufman said she'll be doing cross country at Humboldt. And she said she might get to compete in track's steeplechase as well.
"I want to get faster," said Kaufman, who was her high school's student body president. "I don't know if I'll be competitive, but in terms of me, I want to lower my times a lot. I think it'll be easier if my college coaches will just tell me what I need to do. I just know college will be so competitive, and we'll be doing stuff every day."
Harold Smith can be reached at 823-7104 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.