Throwback Thursday: Cathy Palacios


May 17, 2012


Cathy Palacios (Track & Field) 1990-92
This Jayhawk student athlete came to Lawrence all the way from the Land of Lincoln and the Chicago area, but her transition was easy as Palacios, now Cathy Vasto became a impact athlete on the track. The distance runner won the 3000-meters during the Big 8 Championships her senior year and even set a school record in the same event at the 1992 Santa Monica Invite on her way to becoming an All-American. Her 9:15.48 in the 3000-meters in Calif. is a KU record that still stands today. Palacios (Vasto) still competes in the sport, having ran for ASICS in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic trials. She now lives in Jacksonville, Fla. with her husband and two children where she works in Oncology sales.

How did you first get introduced to the sport of track and field? 051712aab_589_7783906.jpeg
“Actually, I was a swimmer before I was a runner; I started swimming when I was six years old and have always been kind of competitive. There were summer track meets at North Central College in Illinois and I would go to them and run the 200 meters. I had a lot of fun doing that when I was in junior high.”

What made you decide that Kansas was where you wanted to go to school and compete?
“My dad went to medical school and did his fellowship at the University of Kansas and I was actually born in Kansas City. Being from Chicago, I thought Kansas would be the best fit for me; I really liked the coaching staff, saw a lot of the campus and became really good friends with the girls so it was a good fit.”

What events did you compete in when you were at KU?
“I ran the 1500 meters, the 3000 meters and as well as the mile relay.”

What was your favorite part about being a student-athlete?
“I still keep in touch with my coach who is one of my nearest and dearest friends and I still keep in touch with a lot of the girls. Being able to build those relationships was probably my favorite part.”

Does a particular track meet or event stick out in your mind during your collegiate career?
“I think of the Big 8 Championships (in 1992) where I won the 3000 meters and then they needed an extra person in the mile relay, so I turned right around and ran the mile relay. That track meet was pretty impactful.”

051712aab_589_7783904.jpegWhat would you say was your greatest accomplishment during your career at KU?
“Setting the record for the 3000 meters; that was a pretty neat race. I did it out in Los Angeles at a track meet that I traveled to by myself and I had a really good race. I think that race was less than a week after the Big 8 Championships, so setting the record for the 3000 meters is a great accomplishment but being a Big 8 Champion and an All-American at KU ranks right up there with it.”

What have you been doing since you left KU?
“A lot because that was awhile ago; I will be married 15 years this August and I had twins (a boy and a girl) two and a half years ago. I work for a very small bio-oncology company that just started up and I’m the senior oncology account manager. I have been working there for just about a year. Before that I was working for a company called OSI Oncology so I’ve been in oncology for the past 12 years.”

What advice would you give student-athletes now?
“Live in the moment; I was always thinking about the next race or my training. Everything was always what I was going to do (next), so I think I should have lived in the moment and absorbed every experience that I had. Being at the University of Kansas was one of the best experiences I have ever had and to this day I bleed Crimsons and Blue, but also pink because we used to wear pink and blue uniforms. One of the best parts of my life was being at the University of Kansas, so just live in the moment and absorb everything because time goes by so fast. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years now.” 051712aab_589_7784364.jpeg

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