By Dave Ongie, News Editor
When it comes to describing the exploits of Johnson City’s Jenna Hutchins, adjectives have become obsolete. At this point, only cold, hard numbers can properly illustrate how dominant the 16-year-old from Science Hill has become in recent months.
Last Friday at the Five & Dimes Athletics Meeting in Columbia, South Carolina, Hutchins ran her first-ever 5K on a track in a time of 15:34.47. That was the fastest 5K time ever run on a track by a high school girl, indoors or outdoors, in U.S. history. It was also the fastest time ever run by an American Junior (20 years old or younger) on an outdoor track.
In addition to outpacing some very talented high school runners, Hutchins also beat a few professional women to take the win in last Friday’s race. Her time was nearly three seconds faster than Kaitlyn Tuoy’s previous national overall high school record, which Tuoy posted indoors back in 2008. It was nearly a full 11 seconds ahead of the previous national high school outdoor record and over two seconds faster than the previous U20 record.
Back in 2014, Jeff Keeling wrote a profile on Hutchins for the News & Neighbor and noted the fourth-grader preferred to let her running do the talking. Six years later, her running is talking loud enough to rewrite the record books.