With a surname like “Kill,” you could expect an athlete to garner a host of clever nicknames. Such was the case with Cori Kill, a junior on the USF cross country team.
In high school, Kill attracted the moniker “Man-killer” for her achievements as a member of the track/cross country team.
“I realized that I could run and was good at it, when I beat all the boys in gym class,” Kill said.
Kill began running in 6th grade and joined the track team in the 7th grade. She went on to be a decorated athlete at Powell, Ohio’s, Dublin Scioto High: three-time conference champion and state champion in the 1600 meters. She later had her high school jersey retired.
Besides track and cross country, Kill was also a cheerleader and a member of the girls’ basketball team.
As one of the top runners in Ohio, Kill had many choices of colleges. She liked the warm weather of Florida and found her recruiting visit to USF very comfortable.
“I got recruited by a lot of schools,” Kill said. “It was between here, Michigan State and Wake Forest.
“Because of all the hard work that I did in high school, I wanted to reward myself. Florida is a bigger reward than staying in Michigan with cold winters. I felt the most welcome and comfortable here.”
Kill’s dedication to running is relentless. Her day starts at 5:15 a.m. with a morning workout and weight training, followed by classes and an afternoon workout, which lasts until about 6 p.m. On average, she said, the cross-country team runs about 55 miles per week, and about eight to 10 miles per day.
Kill said long runs give her a chance to reflect on the things that are going on in her life. It also gives her an opportunity to get to know her teammates by having in-depth conversations.
“I ran because I won races in high school. I never really loved it, until I won the state meet and won the state championship,” she said. “As I was standing in front of thousands of people, I thought I could really learn to love this. Now I don’t think I could live without it. It’s an addiction.”
Kill has become a key participant on the defending regional champion USF cross-country team. Her hard work has paid off this year as she placed in the top 20 in the Florida Invitational in Tallahassee Sept. 22 and finished 33rd at the Auburn Invitational Sept. 29.
“To psyche myself up before a big meet, I take a minute to step back and think about how lucky I am to be here with all these top athletes,” Kill said.
Kill’s love for running is also reflected in her relationship to her teammates.
“We’re really good with one another when we’re racing,” senior Tiffany Quinn said. “Usually, if she decides to go past me, she’s like, ‘Come on Tiffany, let’s go.’ If I go past her, I’m like, ‘Come on, Cori, you know I’m going to leave you.’
“More so than probably anyone else, me and her, we work together pretty hard and try and motivate each other to get going.”According to USF coach Heather Curtiss, Kill’s work ethic often rubs off on younger members of the team. Curtiss said she takes on a leadership role by being outspoken about how she feels.
“She definitely leads by example. She also gets to practice early and is always very interested. She mentors others on proper techniques and opens her arms to freshmen,” Curtiss said.
Kill and her teammates are very excited about the team’s prospects for the rest of this season. With conference, regional and national meets coming up, she said she believes the Bulls are ready and are going to surprise many people.
In their last two meets, the Bulls took a first and a seventh-place finish. The team will travel this week to Furman, S.C., to compete in the Pre-NCAA meet.
The life of a student-athlete is predicated on the balance of academics and athletics. She has been able to excel at both.
“Cori is an excellent student. She has no problems juggling academics and being a collegiate athlete,” said Curtiss.
Kill is majoring in public relations and is a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. When she graduates, Kill plans on working as a sports agent or as a public relations representative for a professional sports team.
“I don’t want to leave the sports atmosphere. I have grown up with sports and have been always involved,” Kill said. “Through running, I have learned that you can be the best that you want to be. Also I have learned that, if you put your mind to something, you can always achieve it.”