Athlete of Week: Big effort takes Jenerette a long way

nmbxc-wilsonThey say big-time athletes are at their best at the biggest moments. That’s true even when the athlete isn’t very big.

Such is the case of the diminutive runner Wilson Jenerette, who was voted the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week after setting her personal best time of 19:38 for a runner-up finish at Class 4A Lower State qualifier.

The North Myrtle Beach High sophomore followed it up Saturday at the SCHSL Cross Country Championships, completing the more challenging 5K course at Sandhills Research Park in Columbia in a time of 20:13, good for a 23nd-place finish.

“My coaches and everyone were cheering me on and I guess my adrenaline just kicked in,” Jenerette said. “My team really helped me out a lot too, knowing those girls were right behind working just as hard as I was, that me really helped push me.”

Jenerette led the Lady Chiefs to a 10th-place finish in the Class 4A state meet, a milestone for the young and growing program. North Myrtle Beach welcomes all their top runners back next year, setting the stage for an even bigger run in 2017.

“We won the region, finished second in the Lower State, and this was the first time we finished top 10 in the state in like 20 years,” Jenerette said. “We’ve got everybody coming back so if we can improve next year as much as we did this year we can go a long way.”

Going a long way seems to run in the family for Jenerette, whose elder siblings Christian, Drake and Benjamin all starred at North Myrtle Beach in cross country. Wilson also credits their parents for their love of running, and for the determination to push their limits.

“When Christian went to school my parents told him he had to play one sport, and he picked cross country because my mom ran in college at Coastal Carolina,” she said. “Christian sort of started us down this trail but it really comes from my parents. My dad (Van) was in the Army and he’s real tough, and so is my mom (Katherine), so when I’m running I try to be tough like they are.”

What she lacks in long strides, Jenerette makes up for with hard work and determination – and not just in cross country and track and field. In addition to a year-round running schedule, Jenerette makes time for swimming, school work and piano lessons. And when her mother, who is serving in the U.S. Army at nearby Fort Bragg, is home, they even find time to go for a run together.

“It’s hard sometimes, especially with my crazy schedule. Sometimes I don’t get home from school and practice until 9 (p.m.),” she said. “But then I think of my mom and how she was in Afghanistan and got a Purple Heart, and I know I can always push myself harder.”

Just like a big-time athlete.

Photo courtesy of Ross A. Burton

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