When Kennadi Lakins was a freshman at Crothersville High School, she remembers doing high jump and long jump at a meet in Austin, and the individual running the station for those two events said he coached those field events at Hanover College.
He said if Lakins ever wanted to look into running track and field there, she could contact him.
As a freshman, Lakins wasn’t too interested.
“I always told him, ‘I’m not going to Hanover. It’s too small. It’s not for me,’” Lakins recalled.
But fast forward three years, Lakins decided to give Hanover a shot and took a visit.
“I really loved the campus,” she said. “The coaches were great. The atmosphere was way better than any other colleges I went to.”
Her mind wasn’t made up yet, but she was invited back for a second visit, and that’s when she realized “Yeah, this is the place for me.”
Last Thursday at Crothersville High School, Lakins officially signed her national letter of intent to run track and field at Hanover College. She plans to do jumps at Hanover as well as run sprints.
Lakins initially wanted to play basketball in college, but she said she realized she was having a lot of fun in track and kept advancing to regional, so she changed her mind.
Last year, Lakins has a fun regional memory that she’ll never forget. She qualified in the high jump, but she placed sixth in sectional in long jump, so she didn’t think she would make it, and if she did, she expected a call to tell her she would be competing in long jump.
Lakins was sitting in the stands at Bloomington High School North last spring when she heard her name get called down for long jump at the regional. She only brought her high jump spikes, so she did her first jump in the spikes. Then she went up into the stands and got her mom’s tennis shoes for the remainder of her long jumps.
So her mom sat shoeless in the stands for a bit while Lakins competed in the long jump.
“It’s a funny story,” Lakins said.
This spring, Lakins hopes to make it into both events again and be prepared for both.
“I took a lot of interest into long jump this year,” she said.
Every year Lakins has competed in track and field, she has gotten to regional.
“I think the mentality and knowing what it’s like will help,” she said. “Freshman year, I was so nervous, not knowing what height I was going to start at, and that scared me. Going every year and knowing what it’s like, it helps me prepare better.”
Lakins is coming off of a basketball season in which she got injured in December and didn’t return until sectional in February.
She said she feels fine now but is behind with her track work since she couldn’t do much in the winter.
“I’m 100% for sure, but it’s just getting back into shape,” Lakins said.
Lakins also ran cross-country at Crothersville, but she will not be doing that at Hanover — just indoor and outdoor track.
She also enjoys how close Hanover is to home, which is another thing Lakins thought she wouldn’t like at first.
“At first when I was younger, I was like, ‘I am not staying close to home. I cannot do this,’” she said. “But over the past couple years, I’ve realized how good this community is, and I feel like I’ll come back a lot.”
Lakins was joined by a lot of teammates, coaches and family when she signed her NLI last Thursday, and she got to do it with fellow cross-country and track teammate Kaylyn Holman, who signed her NLI to run cross-country at Morehead State.
“It was really relieving. To finally put the decision down and not have to worry about where I was going to go and what I was going to do is just really nice,” Lakins said. “It has been really rewarding because everyone has been really positive throughout the whole process.”