Northwest distance runner sees chance at redemption

Posted Monday, May. 06, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The Northwest track and field program is sending four athletes to the state meet this weekend, and for one athlete, the competition is an opportunity for some redemption.

Distance runner Kellee McCann was ill last season and failed to qualify for the state meet after doing so her freshman year in 2011.

McCann, who is headed to state in the 3,200 event, said that she is feeling great heading into the competition and said being able to return to state this year is very special for her.

“It is all the more gratifying getting to go back, especially since I was sick at district last year,” McCann said. “I was not able to advance, so to be able to come back and compete this year is really awesome for me.”

The Northwest junior said that she is feeling pretty good about her chances as well.

“I'm going in with the third fastest time in the state from regionals,” McCann said. “I know that if I run a very good race and the race that I am capable of, I have a very good chance of not just winning a medal, but also winning the race.”

Joining McCann at state will be Zach Kirkland in the 800 meters, Desiree Freier in the pole vault and Kiarra Simpson in the discuss.

Coach George Lutkenhaus said that he could not be happier with his athletes' effort at the regional meet and said that he is optimistic about their chances at state.

“The kids just performed phenomenally, and it was the most fun I've had in a long time,” Lutkenhaus said. “They did as well as we thought they could, and things could not have gone much better.

“It was very exciting to see our girls finish fifth, because it is always good to see your school's name up there with the top schools.”

Lutkenhause said McCann ran especially well and said she believes that a state championship is a possibility for his junior distance runner.

“Kellee performed beautifully,” Lutkenhaus said. “She ran a near flawless 2-mile for use and did an excellent job. What was really amazing is that she broke a regional record in the event. Kellee was down there two years ago in the 800, so she has the state experience. You never know what is going to happen, and that is why you run the race.”

McCann said that her expectations for the state meet are to run her best and smartest race and to let the chips fall where they may.

“The ultimate goal is to be a state champion,” McCann said. “But when you are at state, you are on the track with nothing but Division I runners, so just being at the state meet is a huge accomplishment in itself.”

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