Athlete of the Week: NMB’s Jenerette on winning track

For all Benjamin Jenerette’s running accomplishments, she envisions even more impressive milestones ahead.

The North Myrtle Beach High sophomore scored repeat victories in the Horry County and Region VIII-AAA cross country championships during a five-day span, earning her the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week Award.

But Jenerette has her eyes focused on bigger things down the road, beginning with a state championship.

“I really want to win the state this year,” said Jenerette, who finished third last year. “That’s my main goal.”

Or at least one of them. Currently also training in swimming, Jenerette wants to compete in a triathlon, one of the few race formats she has not tried yet. She’s already crossed a marathon off her to-do list.

“Last year I was going to sign up for the half-marathon, but all the spots were full,” she recalled. “I begged my parents to let me run the marathon instead, and they let me. It was hard, but I loved it.”

Jenerette’s time of 3:56 was impressive for a rookie, especially since she only had two or three weeks to train for the 26.2-mile distance. She pushed through “the wall” at Mile 20 to earn family bragging rights.

“My father (Van) ran one before and he hit the wall at Mile 18,” she recalled. “I got to 18 and felt great. I was like, ‘This is going to be easy.’ Then I hit Mile 20 and it was like I couldn’t move my legs. I got through it and passed my dad (around the finish line) and told him, ‘Mile 20.’ He knew what I was talking about.”

Jenerette hails from a running family, with father Van and mother Katherine having roots in running. Benjamin began running with her mom when she was 12, but has had to find a new partner after her mother, a reserve officer in the Army, was called up in February and sent to Afghanistan for active duty.

“It’s been different. She’s stationed at Tanjwai, which is one of the most dangerous bases in Khandihar,” Jenerette said. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed she will be home safe around Christmas time.”

When she does, the two have some serious running time to catch up on. In addition to her Lady Chiefs teammates, Benjamin has been training with younger sister Drake, who finished second in the region, and her many coaches – running mentors Bratton Ferrell and Earl Main and swimming coaches  Kristen Henley and Dale Teasley.

“I’ve gotten so much support from my family and coaches,” she said. “ I don’t know where I would be without them.”

But she knows where she’s going. After winning the region, she showed her strong principles by offering to give up her medal if a protest ruling was upheld in an incident that didn’t involve her or her teammates.

A few members of the rival Myrtle Beach team wore non-matching uniforms and another team filed a protest under the rule stating that all team members must wear matching gear. Jenerette took a stand.

“ I told them they could keep (my medal) because it wasn’t fair to the Myrtle Beach athletes,” Jenerette said. “It wasn’t their fault, they just wore what someone told them to wear so they shouldn’t be punished.”

The protest failed and Jenerette kept her medal, so now she can focus on adding to her collection and her future. She wants to follow in her military footsteps to college, placing the U.S. Naval Academy and West Point atop of her list.

“I grew up an Army brat and I loved it,” she said. “I like the military and would love to go in that direction.”

And, as Jenerette has shown as the front-runner on the cross-country course, she knows exactly what direction she’s going.

Photo courtesy of Rancier Photography

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One response to “Athlete of the Week: NMB’s Jenerette on winning track”

  1. Vegas says:

    Benjamin Jenerette Is the best runner I’ve seen in awhile, HANDS DOWN YO. Keep up the great work. Much love .

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