Junior sprints to state, secures success for team

As she sets her feet firmly against the blocks, the starter calls the runners to the ready. The familiar chant of “I can do this” echoes in her ears as the starter calls set and points the gun upward. Then BANG, junior Jamie Kennedy flies off of the blocks running the 200 meter dash.

Though many think of track as a sport for an individual to win awards, Jamie demonstrates the importance of working together as the anchor leg on two relays. The 4×200 relay will advance to state after the team of seniors Kaitlyn Harris and Chahnyce Foster, along with freshman Miranda Golden joined Jamie to run 47.42 seconds.

“We definitely wouldn’t be going to state without Jamie,” sophomore Quinteria Johnson said. “We were in fourth place when she got the baton, and she fought all the way up to second with a strong lean at the finish line.”

The team found themselves behind going into the final leg of the relay outside of the places advancing to state, but Jamie pulled ahead of other competitors to move them up in the race.

“[Winning second] felt good,” Jamie said. “I knew I needed to get my team where it needed to go. I thought we were in fourth place [when I got the baton]. I could see three people in front of me, but thought I could see three from the side. I wanted to get my team to state, because we’ve got two seniors [on the relay team].”

Jamie recognizes that being on a relay team contributes to her getting faster because it’s not just about her.

“People depend on you during a relay,” Jamie said. “You have to get them somewhere, because you know they’re all counting on you.”

Jamie’s teammates agree that viewing track as a team sport helps push individuals to higher levels of performance.

“Jamie always seems to be even faster on the relay,” Quinteria said. “She knows she is running for all of us and that is more important to her. As a team we know we can depend on Jamie [because] she always gives everything she has to compete.”

Individually, coaches wanted to push Jamie to get into the 24s in the open 200. Jamie was able to achieve that with 24.5 seconds at area and then 24.7 seconds at the regional meet.

From the beginning of Jamie’s involvement, she has excelled. She started on the JV team as a freshman, but after seeing her talent and the way she ran the coaches knew they wanted her to run for the varsity team.

“We could tell pretty quickly that she was going to be competitive at the varsity level,” girls track coach Stacy Beal said. “We moved her up, and she was able to run on varsity for us her freshman year.”

Her coaches enjoy having her on the team as a leader because she is an athlete of character.

“She is a great kid,” Beal said. “She keeps up with her grades, she’s always at practice, she works hard in practice, and she runs hard. She just leads by example.”

With the success Jamie has enjoyed thus far in her high school career, she plans to stay the course and continue to pursue her goals.

“I would love to continue track in college at Texas A&M, or any college,” Jamie said. “Maybe [even] go on to the Olympics if it leads that far. Track is my life. I really can’t see my life without it. If I can’t run then I don’t want to play any other sport because this is my passion.”