Suzy Pace is tall, athletic and has long legs. Those are ideal ingredients for a track athlete, particularly hurdlers and jumpers. The Mariner senior has combined those attributes with an insatiable work ethic to flourish in her athletic pursuits.
Last season, she set school records in the high jump, 100-meter hurdles and 300 hurdles, and at the Class 4A state meet she placed fifth in the high jump and sixth in the 300 hurdles.
“Her height is in her legs, so she has flexibility and good technique,” Marauders track and field coach Dave McFadden said. “Her strength is in the long hurdles — she’s not a sprinter, but she has good top-end speed, and she maintains her full speed for a long time. (She succeeds) in the high jump because she listens (to coaching) and has become a student of the event. She’s potentially a 6-foot high jumper in college if things go right.”
The Herald recently spoke with Pace about her track and field career and other interests:
How did you get your start in track and field?
My dad (Bill) was a distance runner in high school, and he had a dream of me becoming a distance runner. I mainly ran the mile in middle school, but in high school the coaches realized I could do better in other (events), and I started to thrive and enjoy it more. My dad can’t really coach me anymore, but he still tries.
Who’s been the biggest influence on your track and field career?
Both McFaddens — Dave and (Mariner assistant coach) Pat. Wow. They’ve done so much for me. I never thought I could do track in college, but they always told me I could, and I didn’t believe them until this year. They always find ways to challenge me. I end up doing some crazy drills, which can be embarrassing, but they make me better.
What is your best memory from track and field?
The state heptathlon meets. Every one (of the competitors) has different strengths. The best part is no one is going to hold it against you if you suck at one event because there’s six other events. It’s fun doing events that I don’t normally do, but throwing — wow. My throws are a little rough. But I still enjoy it.
What would you like to study in college?
Civil or environmental engineering. I’m going to do some internships and see what I like the most. I haven’t decided what college I’m going to go to yet, but I’m excited to get exposed to real-world opportunities.
What interests you about engineering?
I’ve always been super into architecture. I like the idea of putting effort into the design of things. I’m sitting in my room right now, and it’s a square, and I’m so bored with it. Where I live, there used to be a ton of trees, (but as time went on) more and more of them were cut down and replaced by buildings. I look at the buildings, and I don’t feel (the designers) took advantage of the materials like they could’ve. It’s just an ugly concrete building. I’d rather look at trees.
Outside of school and track and field, what keeps you busy?
I’m in a youth group, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynnwood. I did more things with them before my sister (Ashley) graduated high school. She’s a sophomore at Washington State University, and I talk to her a lot. We have a weird relationship. She and I are not funny, but we think each other is funny. We’re really different. I tell her that if she wasn’t my sister, we might not become friends, but since we are sisters, we get each other so well. And I go out to eat a lot — teriyaki and Thai food are my favorites.
How would you describe your personality?
I laugh at everything. I’m not sure if “bubbly” is the right word, but I laugh when I’m uncomfortable. If I meet a stranger, all I do is laugh. It’s so bad.