“Confident, hilarious, and driven.” If you ask girls’ track head coach, Josh Fletcher, that’s how he’ll describe this years’ talented team.

Since coming in second in regionals, the motivation has never been higher to compete in and win state for the Penn girls’ track team.

The reality that the squad didn’t achieve all of the teams goals, and their own, hit senior Megan Darr especially hard. “I actually didn’t do well at regionals, it was my worst one yet…I am disappointed in myself for not doing better, but my last hurdle race doesn’t erase what I’ve accomplished my whole career.”

It’s true. Darr has one of the most remarkable track careers at Penn, and her legacy continues. However, there is some new talent behind her that is ready to lead the track team to success.

Pole vaulter Amanda George earned herself a blue ribbon and a ticket to state last Tuesday in regionals as well. When asked about all of the time and preparation that went into becoming the best vaulter in the area, she said, “Pole vault requires a lot of repetition. You have to completely train your muscles to know what movements to do because a lot of the time, when I vault, I forget what I’m doing or where I am in the vault and need to rely on muscle memory to finish it.”

It’s George’s second trip to Bloomington, and she believes that technique and repetition are going give her the confidence to soar to victory.

George isn’t the only up-and-coming star on the track. Sophomore Jemmia Pennix is also heading down to state for her second time in two years. When asked about the significance of representing her school at state, she said, “It means a lot to me being able to compete in the state meet for Penn High School. This is a big opportunity, I’m so thankful to be part of it and I do what I can for my team.”

Although regionals wasn’t marked with a “W,” head coach Josh Fletcher has high hopes for his team this Saturday.  “I was hoping for a few more events, but I’m really excited about scoring some “big” points at the state meet.  Our 4×8 relay is really excited to defend its state championship from a year ago, and I expect to score points in the pole vault [Amanda George], 800 [Ashleigh Macleod & Emma Jankowski], 3200 [Lauren Frank] and 4×4 relay. I’m very satisfied with our performance!”

Penn boasts 6 individual and relay teams competing in the final meet of the season; the 4×800 relay team, Jemmia Pennix in the 400, Emma Jankowski and Ashleigh Macleod in the 800, Lauren Frank in the 3200, Amanda George in pole vault, and the 4×400 relay team.

Runners and coaches alike are ready to compete at state, and they all agree that is a once-in-a-lifetime feeling to be able to represent Penn in “the meet of the year.”

The Lady Kingsmen head down to Bloomington (Indiana University) this Saturday at 3 pm to compete in the 2017 state championships. Drive down and rally the team on to victory!

By Kevin McNulty

Kevin McNulty teaches English and Mass Media Studies at Penn High School. He advises the Penn News Network and manages the PNN Studio and news room. For more information, navigate your browser to www.massmediastudies.net.