Early Saturday morning, Mitchell was on the team bus on her way to compete in the girls 1,000 meter run at the MIAA All-States Championship meet at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury when she decided to listen in to baystaterunning.com's meet preview.
"I couldn't believe it when the guy doing the preview basically wrote me off," she said. "He said I'd stand a much better chance if I ran the 600, but basically said I was an also-ran in the 1,000 and was unlikely to place. My mom had heard it, too, and both of us were a little surprised, to say the least, and it kind of stuck with me. It definitely gave me added motivation to run a good race and prove I could compete."
Well, Mitchell did that and more. She stuck to her game plan, in spite of the blistering pace set by winner and Yale University bound Samantha Friborg (2:49.26) of Lincoln-Sudbury, who took control early and coasted to a near-seven second win over Mitchell, who finished second in 2:56.00.
With one lap to go, Mitchell stood in fourth place, but turned on the jets to pass every runner in front of her except Friborg to pick up the silver medal.
"Friborg always goes out fast, I mean I overheard her talking before the race about her split goals and they were just ridiculous," said Mitchell. "She wanted to do 2:17 at the 800 mark and was talking about 2:40 final, and I knew I just had to stick to my game plan, but I was surprised because I thought that a lot of girls would go out fast with her, but nobody did, and because I wasn't expecting everyone else to be so slow, I kind of got stuck in lanes two and three, which isn't ideal."
Mitchell said she realized this was probably the last lap of her high school on the Reggie Lewis track, which, at times, had been less than kind to her.
As an upstart freshman three years ago, Mitchell went into the meet on the heels of a 3:03 1,000 at the Division 5 meet, only to meet disaster at All-States when she got tripped up rounding a corner and went down. She eventually finished a disappointing 24th (3:17.56).
Fast forward to this season in the final meet of the day, the 4x400 relay.
Freshman sister Lauren Mitchell ran the opening leg and kicked her way on the straightaway into second place, but had to make her way across the track to lane four (losing a few places) for a clean handoff to sister Ashley. Juliana Passatempo also ran a strong leg before handing the baton to Kate Mitchell for the anchor leg.
In fifth place, it was nearly deja vu for Mitchell.
"I couldn't believe that I got clipped again," she said. "It wasn't the same corner, but the opposite one, but I didn't let it get to me. It was just blood, so I was okay."
Mitchell shrug off the injury and dialed it up a notch on the final lap.
"I knew had to take risks to get out ahead of the other two girls into second place and just said that if someone caught me I would be fine with that as I knew I had left it all on that track one final time."
Lynnfield finished the race a shade off its personal best time and finished 12th in 4:12.06.
Mitchell has a couple of weeks off before she heads to New York City for the 2018 New Balance Indoor Nationals March 9-11 at the Armory Track and Field Center where she is scheduled to run the 800.