Very few belong to an elite class of athletes, yet one walks these halls. Freshman Tyler Kovak claims the title of 13th in the nation for her age group in junior triathlon. In order to race at this level, many sacrifices and discipline are required for competition.
Kovak’s foundation and interest in the sport blossomed from a young age.
“My dad has been doing triathlons since he was 20, so at age seven I did my first race. I wasn’t supposed to be in it because I had training wheels, but I just got into it and fell in love,” said Kovak.
The road to victory is never easy. Highly competitive athletes know that their results will only echo their training. For Kovak, her regimen includes training seven days a week: swimming twice, biking twice and running four to five times.
“It's important to be comfortable in the uncomfortable during a race,” said Kovak. “Racing is all about giving your all the whole time, so strategy, mental strength and physical strength. You can’t just give up; you have to practice pushing through.”
Kovak completes the cycling portion of a national qualifier race in Utah. After qualifying in the race, she moved on to finish third at nationals.
Kovak spends ample time and energy focused on her sport, so it is critical that her school schedule compliments her lifestyle.
“The hybrid model here really helps me balance everything,” said Kovak. “I try to do my schoolwork in the first half of the day and then my workouts at the end of the day.
In addition to flexibility with her homework, the school also provides challenging sports for Kovak. She participates in cross country, swim and track and field, where she loves the coaches and positive team environment.
For Kovak, a large part of her enjoyment in the sport is the social aspect of triathlons. Her team at Multisport Explosion helps push her to achieve her goals.
“It's really nice to meet different people,” said Kovak. “I have friends from all around the U.S. I have good friends in Costa Rica, West Virginia, Oregon and all sorts of places.”
Along with meeting new friends, new opportunities arise for Kovak to share her faith with others.
“I have a couple of friends who are Israeli, and I always bring up to them the things I learn in church because they always ask me,” said Kovak “I also pray before each race with my mom and a few other people. Everyone around normally sees that, so I think it's cool to be able to set that example.”
In light of the future, Kovak hopes to remain consistent with her training and excel even further in her sport.
“My dream is to go to the Olympic Training Centers, where they draft the top 10 girls in your age group,” said Kovak. “Olympians train you, and you get to stay there for a couple of days.”
She hoped to attend the center for the past two years but was unable to due to COVID.
“I love racing with my friends, and the adrenaline and the grit of it are really fun for me,” said Kovak.