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McKenna Hood – Athlete Spotlight – Presented by Beverly Jeanes- Coldwell Banker

McKenna Hood has been a standout distance runner since the very start of her high school career at Tahlequah.

She just wrapped up a stellar junior year in May with a strong finish at the Class 5A Track & Field State Championships in Ardmore where she was a top-five place in two events. She finished third in the 800 with a personal-record time of 2:21.90 and was fourth in the 1600 with a 5:25.63. She also helped the 4×400 meter relay team to a sixth-place finish (4:11.98) where she ran a personal-best split of 59.6, and the 4×800 meter relay team to an eighth-place finish (10:31.60).

“My experience at the state meet was exciting and driving,” Hood said. “Coming from a hard regional where my goal was just to qualify for the state meet and do my best for my team, I felt blessed and very grateful to make it in all four of my primary events. I knew my competition and how we tend to race each other and prepared myself mentally for a fight. Visualizing and praying was a very strong part of my lead-up.”

Hood is also a standout for Tahlequah in cross country. In October, she placed fourth at the 5A State Championship with a time of 19:16.84 and led the Lady Tigers to a seventh-place team finish. Her personal-record 5K time of 19:02 occurred at the Chile Pepper Festival in Arkansas.

“Going into this year, I knew I was finally fit and on a healthy streak, and even though I’ve been at this sport a long time, I feel as though you can learn something from each race and competitor, and cross country was a sort of learning curve as each year of high school for me has been a guessing game for my health and my body,” Hood said.

“This year was a year I was excited for as the focus was on racing and being smart rather than working with what my body would give me and the hard work and sacrifices from the past two years definitely came through as I PR’d in all of my primary events this year in Track and CC.”

Hood, who has taken a visit to Missouri Southern University and has received interest from other schools but is undecided on where she will continue her running career, has bigger goals for her senior year.

“My goals going into next year is to keep learning the dynamics and intricacies of this sport and hopefully achieving an individual winning state title,” she said. “I want to make an impact in my school and in this sport and going into next year with a full year of being healthy and competitive under my belt I hope to keep dropping time and hopefully knock down some more school records and titles and achieve an athletic scholarship to continue my journey in this sport as it is my Senior year.”

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