New Richmond HS cross country qualifier gets champion’s send-off

Jenna Burns receives her medal for an eighth-place finish in the cross country regional meet.

Press Release UPDATE: Jenna Burns ran the last cross country race of her high school experience on Saturday, Nov. 2. She had a successful day in the state meet finishing in the top 30.
On Twitter, Burns' coach Rylan Shebesta said, "She placed 28th overall with a time of 19:13! What a way to end a successful career!! Congratulations Jenna!!" 
Original Press Release:
New Richmond High School celebrates the success of a star athlete by giving her a champion’s send-off on Friday.

Senior Jenna Burns competes Nov. 2 at the state cross country meet being held at National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio. As is a tradition, New Richmond High School will do a “Tunnel to State” for Burns at the conclusion of the school day Nov. 1.

“All students will gather in the hallways, we will play the fight song over the PA System, and Jenna will walk the halls to be recognized, encouraged and supported,” Principal Mark Bailey said.  “We do this mini celebration for each individual and/or team that makes it to the state level of competition each year. It’s a great tradition of celebrating excellence.”

This is Burns’ second consecutive year to qualify for state in cross country. She’s the first female cross country athlete for New Richmond High School to qualify for the state meet since Alana Kennedy did so in 2005. The last male to qualify for state was Timmy Hall in 2010.

“Jenna is not only talented but works extremely hard,” Coach Rylan Shebesta said. “She treats every workout like it is the week of the state meet.”

Burns, the daughter of Linda and John Burns, credits older sisters, Kara and Claire, with inspiring her to achieve. Both were New Richmond High School valedictorians and ran cross country and track.

“Growing up I always wanted to be valedictorian like my two sisters. And I kind of wanted to beat them, in a sense, by making it to state when they didn’t,” she said. 

It’ a healthy sibling rivalry, she added. Burns is a strong candidate for class valedictorian. And she’s looking forward to her second trip to state and improving her time.

Last year she placed 27 in a field of about 200 runners. The week before the 2018 meet, Burns said she injured her ankle and was unable to train. This year is a different story. She’s uninjured and able to train but is maintaining a lighter than usual training schedule.

While a focused athlete, Burns is also a serious student. Thanks to Ohio’s college credit plus program, she attends UC Clermont full-time earning both high school and college credits for her courses.

Upon high school graduation, Burns said she plans to study biology with a focus on a career as a physician’s assistant. She hopes to complete her undergraduate studies at the University of Cincinnati and attend graduate school at Mount St. Joseph University.

In addition to cross country, Burns competes in swimming and track. Whatever the sport, academics come first for this scholar-athlete.

“It always comes first,” she said. “So if I have too much homework or if I have to study for a big exam, I probably will not go to practice. I’ll go to meets but school comes first for me.”

Burns credits the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School in Anderson Township with helping her to build a solid academic foundation that benefits her now.

“They taught me life lessons and how to keep on top of my school work. So when I came to (New Richmond) high school, I found it easier to transfer,” she said.

When not studying or competing, Burns said she enjoys the outdoors and hanging out with friends.

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