Kim Saddic Makke

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Kim Saddic Makke
Track & Cross Country • West Chester

One of the most accomplished track stars in Chester County history, Kim Saddic Makke was coached and mentored by local legend John Hay at West Chester Henderson.

"He always said, "when it stops being fun, it's time to quit,"" she recalled. Well, now age 42, Saddic Makke is still running and swimming recreationally. It tells you how much she has always loved competing and pushing herself both on the track and in the pool. And on Nov. 10th, Saddic Makke will join the late Hay (class of 2010) as a member of the Chester County Sports Hall of Fame.

"I started swimming at age eight and my coach was Mr. Hay," Saddic Makke said. "He taught me how to swim. He was a longtime friend of the family. "My older sisters ran cross country for him at Henderson, so everything they did I pretty much followed." Saddic Makke's first race was Brian's Run at the age of 12, and by the time she got to Henderson, she was already a very promising distance runner. By graduation, she had won the Ches-Mont cross country crown three times, and the 1,600- and 3,200-meter titles all four years, as well as a slew of District championships. But Saddic Makke capped off a truly outstanding prep career in style by being crowned the Pennsylvania champion in cross country and the 1,600 as a senior.

"The 1,600 was a great way to end my high school career," she said. "And cross country was special because the year before I had gotten bronchitis and missed six weeks of training."

Saddic Makke was also highly prolific and versatile, running in everything from the 800 to the two mile. In a typical week during track season, Saddic Makke would be entered in four events per meet, which really added up.

"To me, the 800 was like a sprint," she said. "I remember in high school running two meets during the week and an invitational on the weekend. I remember doing the 800, the 4x800 relay, the mile and the two mile. It got to be a lot but I didn't always run my heart out for all of those because I was just trying to help the team out.

"And I loved cross country. I enjoyed being able to go tackle the hills, cut through the forest and just be by myself. Growing up in West Chester, there are plenty of hills and I guess that's why I was always a strong hill runner."

In addition to all of the running exploits, Saddic Makke continued to excel in the pool each winter. In 1988, she qualified for the YMCA National Swimming Championships in Orlando.

"I chose to swim in the winters instead of doing indoor track," she explained. "It was a nice break from running year-round both mentally and physically. Swimming is such a compliment to running because it builds your cardiovascular and there is no pounding on the legs. It provided a nice balance for me. Plus, it was different from running because it's individual but it's also a team thing."

To the surprise of nobody, the titles and records continued in college, but only in track and cross country. "We didn't even have a pool at George Mason, but I was ready to focus on running," she explained. "It took a full year to start running like where I thought I should be, but my coaches were patient and with time my body adjusted."

By the time she left George Mason, Saddic Makke owned the school record in three distance events, and was a three-time all-american in cross country. And once again, she saved the best for last by winning the NCAA title in the 10,000-meter, which covers 25 laps of the track.

In addition, Saddic Makke captured the Colonial Athletic Conference cross country championship as well as three conference titles in several distance events, and was an academic all American. She also qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials two times and competed for the U.S. National Team in Beijing (1993) and Japan (1994). "A lot of times you hear about high school stars going to college, getting hurt and then you never hear from them again," Saddic Makke said. "But in my career, I stayed healthy and really enjoyed running."
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