Broncos track

Kenwood Academy boys track and field team at the 2022 Chicago Public League Outdoor (CPL) championships.

From placing 12th in the Chicago Public League (CPL) outdoor track and field championship last year to placing second this year, Kenwood Academy’s boys track and field team is picking up steam.

Led by head coach Michael Runnels, the Broncos began their winter season on the right foot by winning their first indoor track and field meet on February 5. A little over one month later, on March 19, they finished second in the CPL indoor championship.

Among the team’s standout athletes are its 1600-meter relay squad. On March 26, the squad of juniors Jahad Henderson, Sidney Morris and Landan Gillespie, as well as sophomore Kendall Norris, placed second in the Top Times indoor state championships. By the end of the Broncos’ indoor track and field season, the relay team also ranked fourth in the state. 

“There is strength in numbers,” Runnels said of the team’s improvement. “This year’s boys track and field team had 40-plus student athletes, which is almost twice as many as in previous years. Not only does that allow us to cover more events as a team but it encourages a greater level of competitiveness within the team.

“Competitiveness breeds a thirst for winning and I believe that this type of culture has earned us the success that we have had.”

Though their outdoor season saw a rougher start — poor weather conditions postponed several meets — the Broncos won two outdoor meets and a second place title in the CPL outdoor championship on May 14. 

Between the indoor and outdoor seasons, the team broke six school records.

Gillespie is the school's new record-holder in the 800-meter dash and 1600-meter dash for indoor and outdoor track. The indoor 800 and 1600 meter-dash relays also broke school records.

Going into the outdoor state championships, Runnels said he encouraged his students to compete in every event like it's their last, “otherwise, you'll simply leave the state championships with a missed opportunity to produce your best among the best in the state.” 

All aforementioned athletes qualified to compete in the outdoor track and field state championship last weekend. Runnels said their overall success this season marked the dawn of a new era for the Broncos. 

“Our goal was to get out to (state) and to run and jump better than we ever have,” Runnels said. “I'm just going to take it one day at a time, because I know our time is coming.”

(1) comment


Congrats to the team and all its members.

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