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Vol. LXV, No. 44
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
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(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

HAPPY ENDING: Princeton High girls’ cross country star Jenna Cody smiles as she heads to the tape in a race earlier this fall. Last Friday, senior star Cody placed third at the Mercer County Championships, covering the 3.1 mile course at Washington Crossing State Park in 19:08. Cody’s heroics helped the Little Tigers take third of 15 schools in the team standings.

Sparked by Cody’s Solo Flight at Head of Pack PHS Girls’ Cross Country 3rd at County Meet

Bill Alden

Jenna Cody knew she was going to have to fly solo for the Princeton High girls’ cross country team as she competed in the Mercer County Championships last Friday.

With some of the team’s top runners sidelined due to injury, Cody wasn’t going to have teammates to help pace her at the front of the pack.

The senior star, though, was more than ready to go it alone. “I usually run on my own so it wasn’t unusual for me,” said Cody.

“In most of the races, I have been running by myself. I tell my coach [Jim Smirk] I like to do my own thing so that’s it.”

Cody did her own thing in style at the course at Washington Crossing State Park on Friday, taking third behind three-time champion Caroline Kellner of WW/P-S and Kelly Bailey of Peddie.

Cody’s heroics helped the Little Tigers take third in the team standings behind winner Robbinsville and runner-up WW/P-S.

Following Cody for the Little Tigers were freshman Julie Bond at 14th, freshman Mary Sutton in 24th, sophomore Belinda Liu in 25th, and junior Helen Eisenach in 39th.

It was special for Cody to place in the top three in her final county meet. “I knew Caroline Kellner was probably going to win and I had also heard about Kelly Bailey, the second place girl from Peddie,” said Cody, who covered the 3.1 mile course in 19:08.

“She was the only who could beat me in eighth grade when I was at Cranbury and she was at the Allentown Middle School. I knew there was a fast Robbinsville girl and a girl from North. I was planning to get in the top three, I was real happy. It was really nice to be in the top three in the county, I had never done that before.

Cody is looking to keep rolling as she competes in her last post-season for the Little Tigers.

“I would love to qualify for the Meet of Champions,” said Cody, who will next be in action on November 5 when PHS competes in the Central Jersey Group 3 sectional meet. “I would love our team to qualify but if it doesn’t I would like to qualify individually.”

In Cody’s view, the team can reach those heights, particularly if Amelia Whaley and Elyssa Gensib can recover from their injuries and get back into action.

“I would love to see us win groups,” said Cody, who placed behind Gensib earlier this fall at the Passaic County Coaches Invitational and the Shore Coaches Invitational.

“We got second place last year by two points so that was really close. We are not seeded that high this year but I think with all of our teammates back, we have a chance. Amelia hasn’t raced at all this season; she broke her toe during preseason. Elyssa has shin splints; I think she will be back training in a week and hopefully racing thereafter.”

Cody is proud to have been a constant so far this fall for PHS. “This is the first year I have been able to be there consistently for my team,” said Cody.

“I feel like I have gotten a lot more consistent because in my freshman year, I didn’t have that much experience. I was learning about pacing and running with my teammates, just seeing what I could do and testing myself.”

As a battle-tested veteran, Cody has been able to pass on her knowledge to her younger teammates.

“I have learned to lead others rather just focusing on myself the whole time,” asserted Cody, who is planning to keep running in college.

“I can help the freshman and encourage them. I have gone through a lot of things that they are experiencing.”

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