Leaps and Bounds

Breakout track stars set a new pace

Kimbriel Winfield and Noah Mullenix: two names you’re likely to hear more in future. The two rising track stars are smashing school records and getting recognized across the state.

According to MileSplitTN, Freshman Winfield has an average 100 hurdle performance of 15.32 seconds, which is better than 75%
of Division I athletes when they were freshman in high school. She has participated in 10 meets and out of those 10, has come in first place five times.

With all her track accomplishments, you wouldn’t think she got into it accidentally. Her first sport was soccer.

“My mom just kind of put me in,” she said. “Because I used to play soccer, and then my coach called me a ball hog because, apparently, I got to the balls quickly. And so then they suggested me for track, and I did that.”

The sport worked out. Now during her freshman year, she is a hurdler and a sprinter.

When asked what her favorite memory was during her track seasons, Winfeld said, “probably breaking the school record at state
last year.” She beat the school’s 100m hurdle time of 16.52 seconds with a time of 16.50 seconds.

This is the expectation she sets for herself and Mr. Andre Lott, varsity track assisant coach, has seen how intense the pressure can get.

“She puts a lot of pressure on herself,” he said. “She expects to perform at a high level every race. When she loses, you know,
she makes a couple of mistakes and gets very frustrated, but we’re talking about and figuring out a way to overcome those frustrating situations.”

The pressure can be a lot, but Winfeld is holding fast.

“I’ve wanted to like, I don’t want to say quit, but I have wanted to take like a few weeks off,” she said. “I don’t remember
a time without track. It’s like the last thing I go to after a long day at school.”

Freshman Keegan Jackson works side by side with Winfeld and said she, “is always at the front of the line so she pushes us to do better.”

While Winfeld is breaking school records as a freshman, and seventh-grade distance runner Mullenix is the fastest middle schooler in St. George’s history, according MileSplitTN.

His interest in track stemmed from watching YouTube videos about famous track athletes and also the “overwhelming” encouragement from his dad.

His impressive skills mean he’s already practicing with the upper school track team, a decision that was made by both coaches
and Mullenix’s father, Mr. Jason Mullenix.

“At the beginning of the season, I had a meeting with coaches specific to his long-distance and they suggested that he run with
varsity distance runners,” Mr. Mullenix said. “It was honestly a compliment to Noah and the right challenge but successful becausehe broke 5 minutes in a 1600 meter run by 13 seconds.”

Mr. Mullenix appreciates howwelcoming the team has been.

“The high school students are receptive and communicate with him when racing,” he said. “One of the runners, Thomas [Schmiedicke], communicates with Noah regularly, and the seniors are super kind. They never make him feel like he’s annoying.”

Fellow runner freshman Tyler Bergin is impressed with him. “He’s insanely good,” he said. “I don’t even know what to say be-sides that he’s good at everything he does.”

When asked if track has helped him in any other areas of his life, Mullenix said that it helped with making more friends.

“It’s helped me be happier because I really enjoy it,” he said. “I’ve made a lot of friends, so it helps make new friend-ships.”

When asked how he prepared for his meets, Mullenix said, “before I always stretch and I do like a warm- up
run. Like, just to get my muscles loose, so I don’t, you know like, get injured. But then I just stretch and try to stay as loose as possible.”

Mr. Jason Mullenix credits Noah’s success to his ambition.

“He brings achievement onto himself and sticks with the pro-gram. He’s taken upon himself to motivate himself.”

As much as Mr. Lott urges students to persevere through the
pressure, he wants his athletes to remember to take it one day at a time.

“Sometimes people make mis- takes,” he said. “You can’t expect to win every meet you compete in.”

Winfield a recently qualified for state, and it’s safe to say that St. George’s looks forward to seeing both her and Mullinex progress.