How Jenna Hutchins Has Transitioned to HS Racing

Jenna Hutchins has had a sensational debut season.

And there's still a lot of racing left.

We caught up with the Science Hill freshman, who talked about how fun this first year has been. She told us that despite how hopeful she was that her freshman year would be a good one, she never expected this. With her personal best of 17:40 at the Great American Cross Country Festival, Hutchins is ranked as the tenth-fastest freshman girl in the country.

Not bad.

"I really wanted to improve my level of fitness from last year and I had time goals set, but I didn't expect it," Hutchins told us. "I worked hard throughout my summer and fall training and have been happy with the results.  It has made me reevaluate my personal time goals."

Her top priority? Having fun. 

For Hutchins, that's what this sport is all about.

"I actually have several goals for the season.  The first and most important is to have fun.  If you are having fun and enjoying what you are doing you have a much better chance at meeting all of your other goals as well," Hutchins said.

But the goals certainly don't end there.

Hutchins likes to reflect on her training and how things felt. Most of her goals at the moment involve improving the next day. 

"In my training I have wanted to build a good base to make me a stronger and more well-rounded athlete, so I can improve in the future.   As a freshman, I still have a lot to learn so I've made it a goal to treat each race as a learning experience.  I think it's important to look back and see what went well and what didn't.  How did I feel? What do I think I need to work on? How can I run smarter?  And then of course, I have personal time goals I want to meet as well."

"My goals for track season are similar to those I've made for cross country.  I want to continue having fun while improving my times.  In the past I have ran the 1600 and 800.  I'm looking forward to racing on a track again and possibly adding some new events to run," Hutchins added.

The transition from middle school to high school has been a good one for Hutchins so far. She'll be competing for a state championship in a couple weeks. 

For Hutchins, the transition has represented an opportunity for improvement. And she's taken full advantage.

"It has been amazing getting to travel and compete against so many accomplished athletes in Tennessee and the surrounding states.  My coaches have worked hard to provide a plan to help all their runners become successful and to create a positive training environment," she said.

Hutchins will race two more times in the Tennessee season -- region and state. We'll be watching for a huge performance to finish up the season at Steeplechase on the first Saturday in November.