WINONA LAKE – Jo Boren doesn’t deny she keeps an eye on her track peers.
That’s when the Lakeland Christian Academy star is not running away from her competitors on the track.
Boren, a senior standout on a Cougar team with nine members, admits to always looking at the times of others at larger schools throughout the area.
“Oh yeah I always look at the times in the paper from other meets,” said Boren prior to a recent practice at LCA. “I see what they did and that motivates me.”
Boren, who excels in the 200 and 400, has been motivated since she started running competitively as a 7th-grader at LCA. Her top times are 27.14 in the 200 and 1:00.9 in the 400. She also boasts a long jump best of 15-10.
“I’m very competitive,” Boren said. “I have three brothers and I like to compete and I like to win races.”
The 5-10 Boren, who plans to play basketball and compete in track at Grace College, doesn’t dwell on being from a small school.
“Being from a small school definitely pushes you and I like that,” said Boren, whose school does not have a track. “That’s happened to me here. I like challenges and competing with bigger schools like a Cinderella. If you make the most of what you have you can be just as good as anyone else.”
“My favorite event is the 400 because it’s the one that pushes me the most. My passion is really basketball, but I think I’m better at track.”
LCA coach Scott Nieveen says Boren has excelled thanks to talent to go with the right intangibles.
“She’s great to coach because she is self-motivated and has an internal drive,” said Nieveen. “She has talent and works hard.”
“The great thing about track is that it’s cut and dried as far as the times and the distances no matter the size of the school. Jo and I talk all the time about other’s times and challenges.”
Boren and standout hurdler Hailey Nieveen led LCA to a championship at the Tingley Invitational at Howe on April 21. Boren earned Top Female Performer honors after setting meet records in winning the 200 (27.1) and 400 (1:05). She also won the long jump and ran a leg on the first-place 1,600 relay team.
Boren, who is from Winona Lake, has two more meets in her prep career. She, unfortunately, will not get to showcase her skills in the postseason. LCA will not become an official member of the IHSAA until next school year so she can not compete in the upcoming state tournament series.
“I definitely wish I had the opportunity to compete in the sectional,” said Boren.
Even without that, she’s left her mark in a big way at her small school.