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Glenbard North track star considers conquering ‘intimidating’ college challenge

Glenbard North track star considers conquering ‘intimidating’ college challenge

Published: Friday, May 3, 2013 11:41 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 3, 2013 11:44 a.m. CDT
Glenbard North's Kailey James clears a hurdle Wednesday during practice in Carol Stream. Matthew Piechalak –

CAROL STREAM – Described by her coach as a tremendous athlete, Kailey James has the ability to compete in most of the track and field events.

Although there is one the Glenbard North senior doesn’t plan on trying again.

“I’ve done almost everything except the pole vault or throws,” James said. “I tried the pole vault once in practice and rolled my ankle. Never again.”

A three-time state qualifier, her main events are the hurdles and the high jump, though she also has advanced to Eastern Illinois University in the long jump and as part of a relay in her career.

“I love the high jump and the short hurdles,” she said. “With the hurdles, it is a lot of form. You can get out there and work at it, same with the high jump. It’s something you can work at, it’s not just talent.”

In the midst of another very successful season – James was first in the 100 hurdles and second in both the high jump and 300 hurdles in Friday’s invite at Glenbard North – a fourth trip downstate would be the perfect capper to her time spent in a black and gold uniform.

“That would just make my high school track career that much more enjoyable,” said James, who advanced to the finals of the high jump last year. “I want to get down there and I’d like to medal down there.”

If James does qualify as expected, she shouldn’t be alone. Teammates Simone Carr and Brianna Kruse, among others, have made Glenbard North a formidable foe this spring.

“We have a powerhouse with our field events,” James said. “With our throwers and jumpers, we get a lot of points. Everyone is contributing, Simone, Bri, we’ve got some young kids that have come on. We are really strong.”

As for the next step in her athletic journey, James hasn’t made a final choice but has narrowed the decision to Illinois State or Eastern Illinois. And it shouldn’t come as any surprise what she might compete in once there.

“I haven’t made a decision yet but both schools kind of want me to be in the heptathlon (seven events),” said James, who played basketball for four years at Glenbard North and ran cross country her freshman and sophomore years. “When they told me about it, it seemed intimidating at first but after breaking it down, it seems pretty cool.”

The school she picks will be getting a special athlete.

“It’s too bad you can only compete in four events (in high school) because she excels in many more,” said Glenbard North coach Gary Heilers. “Kailey has also turned into a great team leader this year. She leads by example on the track every time she races and is a leader for younger athletes at practice.”

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