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On A Mission

After a year of quarantine, Jaina Hellmann returned to the track with a mission.  Hellmann, as a sophomore in 2019, ran a personal best of 12 minutes and 18 seconds in the 3200-meter run at the GCL Coed Championships.  In 2021, she broke out during the cross-country season, qualifying for the OHSAA State Championship.  With cross-country ending, the mission of knocking off the 3200-meter track record was in sight.  The record was set in 1993 by Brittany Riggins.  Riggins set the school record (11:27.22) at the OHSAA District Meet, setting the meet record at the time.  During the first meet of the year, she broke the 12-minute mark.  She continued her pursuit, cutting about 10 seconds off her best at each of the next three meets. On April 23, at the Waynesville Invitational, she just missed the record by 3 seconds.  When most athletes would have been crushed by being so close, Hellmann was reenergized to breaking the record under the lights.  The Wayne Invitational, one of the top meets of the Midwest, was up next. She started the invitational running a personal best and a track record in the 1600-meter run.  Her weekend was not over.  She followed the 1600-meter run with the 3200-meter run.  During the 3200-meter run, filled with future college runners, she pushed through the barrier and broke the 28-year school record set by Riggins.  When all was said and done, she crossed the tape at 11:24.18.  One week ago, she was 3 seconds off the record, now she bested it by 3 seconds.  Hellmann didn’t need the record to etch her name in the annals of Fenwick, but when she returns to the track, she will see her name etched in the record boards outside the stadium.