Every person in this world has dreams of becoming someone special.

But most people are either too scared or not willing to make the sacrifice to go after their dreams. UCSB senior Katie Appenrodt had the dream of becoming a great runner and her dream is becoming a reality.

Appenrodt has qualified to run the 1,500 and 5,000 meters in the NCAA West Regional Championships at Stanford on May 30-31.However, she will only run the 5,000 meters.

“I have a shot at nationals in the 5,000; I’m going to go for it,” she said.

Appenrodt, the captain of the women’s track and field team, has a resume that is unmatched by any other distance runner in Gaucho history. She is the school record holder in the 1,500 meters (4:23.79), 5,000 meters (16:35.46) and 10,000 meters (34:58.92). In the 2001 cross country season she became the first Gaucho to ever win the Big West Conference race.

“She is the best,” women’s Head Coach Pete Dolan said. “She is irreplaceable, we’ll never have a girl like Katie again.”

Appenrodt has not done it alone; a solid support network has pushed her to reach higher levels in running.

“I owe everything I’ve done here to my coaches Pete (Dolan), Jeff (Jacobs) and my teammates.”

She is in her fifth year at UCSB, and has helped shape the Gaucho distance program.

“We can attribute a lot of the success of the track program to what Katie has brought,” Dolan said. “She will have her place in Gaucho track and cross country history.”

Dolan has Katie’s mother, Lana Appenrodt, to thank for Katie’s success at UCSB. Lana first encouraged her daughter to take up running12 years ago when Katie was in the sixth grade.

“I noticed she had a lot of endurance with soccer,” Lana said. “I had a hunch, it worked out great.”

But Katie was not too excited about the possibilities of becoming a runner.

“My mom got me started, she actually forced me,” Appenrodt said. “I wanted to play softball with my friends.”

Living her dream is not always an easy task for Appenrodt.

Katie has used her talent and a tremendous work ethic to become an elite runner. Her off-season workouts consist of running 90 miles a week. During the track season the workouts become more intense, and the mileage drops down to around 50-60 a week.

“I’ve spent so much time running, I can’t stop now,” Appenrodt said. “I’ve developed such a love for it. If I didn’t love it, I would not have done it this long.”

Appenrodt plans to keep running after college. Next year she will attempt to make the Olympic Trials.

“If I continue to work hard I may eventually get a shot,” Appenrodt said. “I definitely have a long ways to go, it’s a dream.”