It's good to be No. 1. Just ask Kenmore West's Christina Wende.
The senior track and field athlete is often on top of the leaderboard when all is said and done. That was certainly the case at last Saturday's Houghton Invitational.
Wende came in first place in the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8.63 seconds, and leapt distances of 18 feet, 2 inches in the long jump and 38-7 in the triple jump to finish as the event's only triple-winner.
All three results are also the top mark in Western New York, which makes Wende our top choice for the Prep Talk Female Athlete of the Week.
Events: Triple jump, long jump, 55-meter hurdles.
Coach Michael Panepinto on Wende: "Since her sophomore year, Christina has been a fixture around Western New York track and field. The amazing thing about Christina is that she keeps adding different events to her repertoire. In 10th grade she qualified for the state meet in the 100-meter hurdles. Last year she won sectional titles in both the hurdles and the triple jump. This indoor season she not only has the best performances in those two events but also leads the section in the long jump. She has qualified for nationals in both the long and triple jumps this winter. To me, the thing that sets Christina apart from other athletes is her work ethic, attention to detail and fierce competitiveness. Christina is what I call a big-meet athlete. She embraces competition and the bigger the meet, the better the performances."
How has your season gone so far?: My season has gone great in terms of the marks I have put up in the long, triple jump and 55-meter hurdles. I have qualified for states in these events and championship nationals in the triple and long jump. I have also broken the school records in the triple jump, long jump, 55-meter hurdles individually and I broke the triple jump relay record with my teammate Ciara Sinatra and the 55-meter hurdles record with my teammate Faye Panagopoulos.
Highlight of athletic career so far: The highlight of my athletic career so far is placing fourth at indoor states my junior year.
Favorite thing about my sport: My favorite thing about track is that in my events I get to feel like I'm flying every time I jump. I also love how nice everyone is that I have met throughout my years on the team.
Favorite teammate: I don't have a favorite teammate. Everyone has been so nice to me on my time on the team. I can't pick.
Toughest opponent: My toughest opponent is Hutch-Tech's Nisa Raqib. She is always one step behind me or in front of me. She pushes me to be my best.
WNY Athlete I looked up to: I look up to Rush-Henrietta's Lanae-Tava Thomas. I think it is amazing what she can do on the track. I hope that one day I can be as good as her.
Pro/college athlete I admire now: American olympian Christian Taylor is a professional athlete that I admire because his athletic ability is amazing.
Favorite school subject: History.
What’s ahead (athletics and/or academics): I hope to pursue a career in helping athletes as well as compete in track in college.