Fort Myers High runner Krissy Gear has won three state titles and 22 region, district and conference track and cross country championships.
Krissy Gear has had a love-hate relationship with the steeplechase event during an up-and-down freshman season.
From early success to midseason struggles to qualifying for the NCAA championships to tapping out on the national stage, the Fort Myers High product and Furman University standout’s battle with the event she never competed in until this season has been on a mental level. Every time she sets foot on the track it’s a battle between her competitive side and her lack of comfort with the steeple.
That battle goes international on Friday when Gear represents the United States in the 3,000-meter steeplechase final at the International Association of Athletics Federations World U20 Championships in Finland.
“It’s the greatest feeling,” Gear told the National Scholarship Athletic Foundation about representing her country for the second time. She ran at the Caribbean Scholastic Invitational last summer in Cuba after wrapping up her senior season at Fort Myers where she ended her career with six state championships.
With her high school successes coming in flat races like the 800, and 1,600 meters, Gear was set continuing in those events. She had success during the indoor season as she was named Southern Conference Indoor Freshman of the Year.
Furman assistant coach Rita Gary moved Gear to the steeple before the outdoor season. Gear turned in a regional-qualifying time of 10:12.72 early before a few rough races midway through the season. The highlight of her season came during regionals in Tampa where she recorded a school-record 9:52.71 to qualify for nationals in Eugene, Oregon.
At historic Hayward Field, Gear faded during qualifying and finished 24th overall. The honorable mention All-American was candid about her performance.
“I went out in a good position but when they started picking up the pace I just mentally quit,” Gear told the NSAF. “I was like, ‘I really don’t want to do this or be here,’ so I kind of checked out. That’s bad on my part.”
Seeking a bit of redemption, Gear ran a 10:09.43 to take third in her heat Tuesday in at World Championships. She advanced to Friday’s final where she’ll have an uphill climb against runners from Germany, Bahrain, Turkey, Japan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Canada, Uganda and Australia among others. The race kicks off at 1:45 p.m. EST.