Leah Klenke qualified for this weekend's TAPPS 6A State Track and Field meet in three events (800m, 1,600m, and 3,200m)
The term two sport star is often used for athletes that play multiple sports, and that makes it the perfect description for Leah Klenke. The Houston St. Agnes junior continues to be a star on the soccer field, her primary sport. However, like several other soccer stars who run, Klenke has proven that she also has some serious skills on the track.
This weekend, she will get her first opportunity in two years to compete for a state title in track; not only will she be running for one state title, she'll have her sights set on four (three individual and a team title).
Klenke is described as an absolute competitor and outperforming others is a priority of hers; this weekend will be the ultimate challenge. She will be going for the three-peat in the distance events (800m, 1600m, and 3200m).
"I know she really wants to conquer the triple crown. If anyone can do it, it's her."
Kristi Robbins, Houston St. Agnes Head Coach
Since arriving at St. Agnes, Klenke has been mesmerizing the St. Agnes coaching staff. Head Coach Kristi Robbins clearly recognizes the ability Klenke has, "Leah is probably one of the most gifted and talented athletes I've ever encountered," she said. Since placing more of a focus on running, Klenke has been primarily a half-miler/miler producing PRs of 2:14.45 and 5:02.52, but she has recently added the 3200m that creates the opportunity for the triple crown.
She ran 11:13.39 two weeks ago in her first 3200m and now that she has qualified for the TAPPS state meet in it, her coaches believe she can go even faster. "I think she can break 5:00 and 11:00," Assistant Coach Chris Warren said.
The University of Notre Dame soccer commit hasn't been pushed at all this season; that could change at state, but the St. Agnes staff has faith in Klenke. Although she isn't 100 percent a runner and may not have as much riding on running as other runners, she still has unbelievable skills. "She is special, I've never seen anything like her before, she is a beast who hates to lose," Warren said.
Winning a triple crown at any level is a daunting task.The last runner that TAPPS has seen like this in the 6A division was Elizabeth Reneau from Argyle Liberty Christian. Robbins is optimistic about Klenke's chances, she said, "the state meet will only be the third time for her to run the 3,200m. It'll be fun to watch her compete and see what she can do when she is pushed. She has a plan for every race and she executed perfectly," Robbins said.
When Klenke competes this weekend, she'll also be doing it for the team. The St. Agnes girls have won four consecutive TAPPS team championships before COVID interrupted their streak. This weekend, they're shooting for number five for the second time. They have entries in 16 out of the 17 events and whatever points Klenke provides will be big ones.
One thing is sure, the trust in her is there, Warren said, "If she ever decides to go all in on track, it's no doubt she will be a top runner in the nation one day maybe the world!" As for her head coach, "I know she really wants to conquer the triple crown. If anyone can do it, it's her," Robbins said.
|400 Meter Dash||1:00.21|
|800 Meter Run||2:14.45|
|1500 Meter Run||4:49.49|
|1600 Meter Run||5:02.52|
|3200 Meter Run||11:13.39|