Here at the News & Neighbor, we’ve been chronicling the running exploits of Jenna Hutchins since before she got to middle school. But last Saturday morning, Hutchins accomplished something that almost defies description.
Hutchins, a junior at Science Hill, became the first high school girl in history to break the 16-minute barrier in a cross country race. Hutchins dominated a field that included several state champions from around the country at the RunningLane National Championships, laying down a time of 15:58.42 on the 5K course at John Hunt Running Park.
Her time broke the previous national record for high school girls by eight seconds as she finished nearly a full minute ahead of the runner-up. When Cory Mull with MileSplit caught up to Hutchins, she said the joy of running meant more than all the records she broke in one fell swoop last Saturday morning.
“Running has been one of my favorite things since I was little, so just having the passion for it is enough for me,” said Hutchins, the top-ranked girls high school cross country runner in the nation. “It makes it a little sweeter having those marks to hit, too.”
Unfortunately for Hutchins, she’s running out of marks to aim for. In addition to breaking the national high school record, Hutchins set a new Tennessee state record and a new record for the fastest time run by a high school girl on Alabama soil. She also shattered the course record at the demanding course at John Hunt Running Park.