Jennie Baragar-Petrash is a quiet girl, long-legged and delicate. Before she gets on a running track, that is.
On the track, Barager-Petrash simply dominates.
"She is a quiet leader, but she is a furious runner," said Glenn Bruce, coach of the Grant Park Pirates cross-country team. "She’s very competitive."
At 14 years old, the Grade 10 runner is also the Manitoba High School Athletic Association’s urban athlete of the week for finishing first overall at the provincial cross country championships, where she completed against Grade 12 students.
In August, Baragar-Petrash was a national champion at the Legion Nationals Youth Track & Field Championships in Langley, B.C.
Baragar-Petrash said she loves her Grant Park team.
"My team with Grant Park this year, we were really close," she said. "I feel that this year was probably my most favourite team that I’ve ever run with."
As well as running with Grant Park, Baragar-Petrash is part of the Winnipeg Optimist Athletics. Because she is on the two teams, running indoor and outdoor track, she only has about 10 to 12 days off a year.
"Most kids will start competing in September-October then they are done in July but that’s when her season starts," Bruce said.
Baragar-Petrash said she does have less time to study and do homework but she’s never been one to sit still for very long anyway. She gets her love of running from her mother, and hopes to compete at university level and perhaps one day for the national team.