Kennedy a rising star in her fields

Athlete Kennedy Taylor doing what she does best, competing in the track and field and triathlon events.

SOUTHLAND athlete Kennedy Taylor has shown her prowess on the national stage and we are all looking forward to seeing how good she will become in the future.

The slight 15-year-old has had an impressive season as a runner and a triathlete, and will surely represent New Zealand in the near future.

But in which sport, remains to be seen.

In triathlons she has won the schools under-16 Southland, South Island and Wanaka events and placed 3rd in the national schools champs.

Interestingly, all three placegetters at the NZ schools triathlon champs were medal winners at the national secondary schools junior 3000m track race.

In that, Kennedy was a narrow second to Lulu Johnson, who won the tri, and Renee Carey who was second in the tri and third in the track race.

Which goes to prove there is a big crossover between the two sports.

In fact, as Lulu, Kennedy and Renee showed, tri and track can be considered three sides of the same sport.

As a runner, Kennedy has six national championship medals to her name; New Zealand schools cross-country, New Zealand schools junior road race (4km), two New Zealand schools 3000m (a gold and a silver), New Zealand schools junior steeplechase and New Zealand track and field steeplechase.

Covid-19 and weather conspired to deny her another two, one cross-country and one road race, both cancelled when she was the favourite.

Along the way, the Southland Girls’ High School representative broke three records at the Southland secondary school championships, the under-16 1500, 3000 and steeplechase.

All were previously held by another Taylor, Christina, (no relation), who went on to win national championship medals and represent New Zealand.

In fact, Kennedy also claimed Christina’s 3000m under-14 record from two years ago.

Kennedy heads the under-18 national rankings for the 2km steeplechase and is ranked in the top 10 for the 3000m and 1500m against girls who are up to two years older.

The future? The aim for next season is to go less than 10 minutes for the 3000m and 7 min for the 2km steeples. Both are distinct possibilities.

Further on? Perhaps a scholarship to an American University.

Jack Beaumont, Jordan Rackham, Hannah Miller and Christina Taylor are distance runners from Southland to win American athletic scholarships in recent years.

Kennedy has proven to have the credentials to join them.