A long-legged, 5-foot, 9 1/2 inches tall, Chesterton junior Jordyn Kincy certainly looks like a runner.
It just took a little coaxing to get her to believe it, too.
"I was thinking about quitting," Kincy said of her freshman track season. "It was really hard. My body always hurt. (Boys coach) TR (Harlan) was always telling me how good I actually could be. He's a big reason I kept doing it."
Growing up in Cleveland, Kincy's only athletic experience was a season of soccer in sixth grade. Given her height, people assume she plays basketball, but she doesn’t like it. Her family moved to Chesterton before her freshman year and she decided to give track a try.
"I think, right away, we knew she had a great upside," Trojans coach Steve Kearney said.
Kincy was part of the 1,600 relays that qualified for state the last two years. She finished fifth in the sectional in the open 400 as a sophomore despite a pulled quadriceps sustained long jumping.
"She was convinced she was tailor-made for the 200, but I wouldn't run her in it," Kearney said. "We made a deal that if she did more conditioning in the winter, she could run the 200, and now we can't keep her out of it. Conditioning is what's really turned the page. As a freshman, she had one good race in her and the next race wasn't as good. She's getting more powerful."
It's the reason Kincy's not only become one of the area's top 400-meter runners but a 100 and 200 standout as well.
"I needed endurance, so I did distance runs in the summer," she said. "I lifted weights. I feel, last year, I didn't try in practice. I was just doing it for fun. Now I'm trying my hardest. My whole goal this season is to see how good I can actually be. I'm not lolly gagging. I'm staying focused. I'm stretching more in between races. I just want to do as much as I can for the team."
Kincy prefers the 200, though the 400 has been her best race. She's added the 100 this season, and while the task of doing three events as well as the 1,600 relay in the postseason would be a tall order, she doesn't rule it out. She's eying school records in all of them.
"Long jumping took a lot out of me. Now all I'm doing is running," she said. "Starts are everything (in the 100 and 200). I have to be more aggressive out of the blocks. There's a definite tactical way of running the 400. No one can't sprint the whole way. I tried it and it didn't end well. You always want to start strong and finish strong. Repetition. That's why I've been successful."
Kearney doesn't see Kincy just qualifying for state in the 400. He expects her to be in the fast heat.
"I look around and I don’t know why not," he said. "She's been running pretty well within herself, especially in the 400. She handles (the workload) extremely well. She's very friendly, laid-back in practice. She doesn't seem to be serious until you say 'go,' and then she goes."
Looking back a couple springs, Kincy's glad she listened to Harlan.
"I still go to him to ask questions. He gives me advice," she said. "I'm only good at one (sport), so I'm going to stick with it."