Jenna Nestman represents the future of track and field athletes on the Sunshine Coast.
Nestman, a standout on the Elphinstone Secondary School Track and Field team, showed she can compete among the top athletes in North American, picking up a slew of medals and top finishes at a pair of events in Arizona recently.
Nestman, who also trains with a club team based out of the University of British Columbia, spent her spring break in Phoenix and Tucson with the UBC team at two major meets.
Competing against other high school athletes, Nestman grabbed gold in the 300 m hurdles and silver in the long jump in the first event in Phoenix.
In the second event in Tucson, she ran the first leg of the four-by-four relay team, which claimed silver and finished second in the long jump and fourth in the hurdles.
She said it was an experience of a lifetime.
"Everyday down there was a huge adventure," Nestman said. "We trained eight out of the 11 days we were down there, so it was pretty intense. Add in the 32 degree heat and it was quite the experience."
Nestman said she was happy with all her results, but was especially pleased with her results in the second meet.
"The second meet in Tucson was pretty intense," she said. "There were competitors from Texas, New Mexico and other parts of Arizona. The whole trip was filled with training and competing, and it was just awesome. It was an experience I'll never forget."
At 16, the Grade 10 Elphi student still has a few more years left on the Coast, but already has her sights set on UBC where she hopes to complete her post-secondary education and compete on the track team.
Nestman is now setting her sights on this year's track and field season at Elphi.
The season has just started, and according to Elphi coach Tom Daniels, Elphi should have a promising year.
"We have a young squad this year, but that's okay," Daniels said. "Right now we have about 20 to 25 kids in primarily Grade 8 to 9. The enthusiasm is there already. We've been practicing for a couple of weeks and I think everyone is looking forward to the season."
Elphi will compete in the North Shore zone with several meets planned in April, culminating with the North Shore finals and provincial qualifier in May. Elphi's first meet is April 15.
"We have some excellent athletes, and I think we should be able to send quite a few to the provincial qualifier," Daniels said.