As girls Track continues to improve with every meet, they prepare to host their first outdoor meet of the season at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 7.
The Huntley Invite is important, not only because there will be nine other schools attending, but it is also going to be named for Jennifer Kearns, a Huntley graduate and runner who recently passed away in a car accident.
“It hit us all very hard when she passed away, because girls Track is really more of a family,” said Katlyn Luebke, junior. “It pushed us to want to work harder for her.”
Jennifer was part of the track team at Huntley all four years of high school, and she is remembered and highly respected by her coaches and former teammates. Members of the community who were close with Jennifer will be there to support the event. They hope to make the meet as successful as possible to honor her memory.
“It is going to be tough on the staff,” said Shawn Nordeen, head coach. “I think that it will be nice to honor her in this way, but it is sure to be emotional.”
Throughout the emotional day, Nordeen still plans to keep focused, hoping to learn more about his team’s strengths and weaknesses. The meet will also give him information about how the team can be their best, because it is still so early in the year.
“I am excited to see what our younger kids have to offer,” said Nordeen. “Obviously, our goal is the win our own invite, but I also just want to see the girls achieve their personal goals as well.”
By sticking to their basic practice schedule, He has prepared the girls for a smooth-running meet, unlike many of other, more disorganized invites have been.
“It is nice because we really get to run it the way we want to run it,” said Nordeen.
Katlyn Luebke, while very excited for the meet, has goals of her own to keep in mind as she attempts to improve her time for the 300-meter-hurdles from 49 to 48 seconds.
“During the mid-distance exercises I just have to work harder and push harder to take longer strides,” said Luebke.
Amanda Zbilski is also looking to improve with this meet. So far, her highest pole vault jump has been 8.9 feet, but lately during practice, she has been clearing 9.6 feet.
“My goal has always been to clear 10 feet,” said Zbilski. “I have really been working hard and going to camps to get better, but the bar always scares me.”
However, the team tries to set aside their worries and channel that nervous energy into physical energy that will help them to do their best. The girls Track Team is determined to make the Jennifer Meghan Kearns Invite a success, not only for their team, but for the whole community.