When it comes to her academic and athletic achievements, Kennadie Chaudhary is hurdling toward the stars.
The Grade 11 Glenlawn Collegiate student, 16, recently picked up the Home Run Sports Urban High School Athlete of the Week award for her outstanding display at the South Central Athletic Conference’s recent track and field meet while competing for the Glenlawn Lions.
The Southdale resident placed first in six events in the varsity girls’ category, including the 80 metre hurdles, the 800 metres, the 1,500 metres, the 3,000 metres, the long jump and the high jump.
For the record, Chaudhary also placed in the girls’ distance medley, shot put and javelin and brought home a total of 61 varsity championship points for the team.
"It feels pretty good, I guess. I don’t think it was that big of a deal," Chaudhary said modestly, adding she also enjoys playing badminton, basketball, volleyball and soccer.
She is involved with the Manitoba Soccer Association’s Regional Training Centre Program, which precludes her from playing for her school soccer team, and she has already been accepted to the University of Texas at El Paso on a full soccer scholarship, which is set to start in 2014.
"I feel nervous about the scholarship, but very excited, as the competition will be a lot different to here in Manitoba. I think it will be good experience," she said.
Chaudhary said the success of Winnipeg-raised soccer star Desiree Scott, who currently plays for FC Kansas City in the National Women’s Soccer League in the U.S., has helped inspire her to set personal goals and ambitions.
"She’s definitely impacted me. She’s shown how a local player can do so well, which definitely gives me hope for the future," Chaudhary said.
As for her recent medal haul, the rising star said she barely practised for most of the events due to time constraints and academic commitments. The honours student has a 91% grade point average.
"Of all the track events, my favourite is the hurdles. I only started doing it this year and it’s so much fun. The key is that you can’t pay attention to the people next to you. You have to focus on yourself and getting over the hurdles, primarily. The funny thing is only event I really trained for was the shot put and it was probably my worst showing at the meet," Chaudhary laughed, noting she’d like to pursue a career in forensic science if her soccer career doesn’t quite pan out.
Eugene Pelland, a teacher and coach at the school, called Chaudhary’s recent achievement "an outstanding accomplishment at any level."
"She’s one of these kids where there’s nothing she won’t try. She’s a natural athlete, so knows what she could with more training," Pelland said.
"Kennadie has the heart and will to compete and she says it’s not in her to lose. She wants to try to be the best. If she’s not, it doesn’t bother her that much, but she has to give 100%. And to get a soccer scholarship while still in Grade 11 is truly amazing," Pelland said.
He said his student’s achievements reflect the school’s emphasis on earning the right to compete in high school sports based on academic achievement.
"Sport is not a right, it’s an honour and a privilege at Glenlawn. You have to earn the right to play."