Kennedy Cook was poised for a breakout track season last year when a hamstring injury derailed those plans.
Following a big offseason of work, Cook is back on the track and has been the top sprinter for Columbus North. The junior will help lead the Bull Dogs into today’s matchup with crosstown rival Columbus East.
“I’ve put in a lot of work in the offseason, so I hope it continues to pay off,” Cook said.
Cook showed promise last indoor track season and competed in North’s season opener at Whiteland. But she began experiencing soreness in her hamstring.
Thinking she might be OK to run, she gave it a try in the second meet against Bloomington South. But she pulled the hamstring coming out of the blocks in the 100 meters.
Her season was over.
“It was really disappointing because I felt like I had a shot to go to regional and move on,” Cook said. “It was really tough because I had spent all offseason working on it.”
Cook did a month-and-a-half of physical therapy and was cleared to run again on the last day of school last year. She went to Columbus Fit and did a lot of explosive workout movements and worked out with a personal trainer in Bloomington.
Last summer, Cook practiced with the Indiana Track Club and went to the University of Oregon track camp.
“She’s been great,” North coach Lou Sipe said. “She worked really hard in the offseason to get back from that hamstring injury, and she works extremely hard in practice. So I’m really proud of her and the success that she’s having this year, and I’m looking forward to what she can do the rest of the year.”
This spring, Cook has run personal records in all her events. Her PRs of 12.76 seconds in the 100 and 27.06 in the 200 were good enough to win those events in a dual meet at Seymour.
But she knows she can go faster.
“I want to do better than what I’m doing right now,” Cook said. “I have higher goals than this, but it feels nice to show that my hard work in the offseason has paid off. I would love to break into the 26s (in the 200) and go to state if possible.”
Cook, who leads off on the Bull Dogs’ 4×100 relay team, has added a fourth event this season. She has been running the 4×400 relay.
Her split time of 1:03.5 in the 4×400 is right at North’s fastest this season.
“She’s a lot stronger this year, and we were trying to get some more conditioning in, so we put her on the 4×400, and she ran really well,” Sipe said. “She was really interested in continuing that role, and it’s something she’s gotten better at.”
While Cook said running four events is a little taxing in dual meets, she has a little more time to recover in the bigger invitationals.
Cook said she would love to run track in college. For now, her goal is to qualify for the state finals.
“I can pray and hope that it happens,” Cook said. “Right now, I’m just going to focus on training as hard as I can so I can make that a possibility.”
What: Columbus East at Columbus North track and field
When: 5 p.m. today
Where: Columbus North High School