Athlete of Week: Downey part of sister act at NMB

If you only read the box scores, you might think there’s a standout four-sport female athlete named “Downey” at North Myrtle Beach High. In reality there are three, each of them excelling at their chosen sport.

In addition to sophomore sister Katelin (volleyball) and twin sister Linsey (soccer), freshman Jenna Downey is a two-sport star in swimming and track and field. It was the latter sport that earned her all-state status and the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week Award after placing seventh in 800 meters at the Class 4A state track and field championships.

“When we were younger we played sports against each other and we were really competitive, but when we got older we found the sports that make us happy,” Jenna Downey said of her sporting siblings. “I started track in the seventh grade just to stay in shape for swimming, and now track is my favorite sport. … Actually, I like swimming in the fall and running in the spring.”

Despite her success in swimming, Downey has made some impressive strides racing on dry land for the past three seasons. She turned in her personal-best time of 2:25.17 in the 800 meters at the Lower State qualifier. But in a sport that is all about the clock, Downey had some unfortunate timing before heading to states.

“I was sick all week leading up to states and I just wasn’t 100 percent,” said Downey, who was 8 seconds off her PR pace in the big race. “I wanted to run a faster time, (2:33.77) wasn’t super high, but I was hoping to be closer to my Lower State time. But I have three more years to work on my times.”

Downey, who also runs the 400 meters and is a member of the 4×800 relay squad, plans to enjoy some down time this summer before hitting the pool hard again in the fall. Between the two sports, and her two sisters, expect to see the name “Downey” on the Lady Chiefs’ sports scene for years to come.

Photo by Perry McLeod

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