Science Hill’s Jenna Hutchins at the finish

Science Hill junior state record holder Jenna Hutchins powers down the final stretches of the finish at Fender’s Farm in September.

Science Hill High School cross country runner Jenna Hutchins says her success as an athlete requires a lot of persistence.

The junior is ranked among the top five runners in the nation. She also was named the Gatorade Athlete of the Year for both track and cross country in the past two years.

On Thursday, she raced to her second state cross country championship, winning in record time — and by more than a minute-and-a-half.The Press recently asked her to tell us about herself, starting with some fast facts.

Fast Facts:

Age: 16

Grade: 11

Favorite subject: Anatomy

Favorite musicians: “Lots of different ones.”

Dogs or cats: DogsWhat were some of your most notable cross country milestones?

The state records and state championships have been nice, but nothing beats qualifying for Foot Locker and running at Nationals. I remember watching Foot Locker when I was younger and thinking about how lucky those girls were to be there. I never dreamed I would be there too one day. I honestly can’t even describe that feeling. I just feel so fortunate and grateful to have been able to experience that. It’s truly special.

When did you start taking an interest in cross country?

I was about 5 or 6 years old when I started participating in local fun runs with my family. I did my first 5K when I was 8, and I’ve been running ever since.

What does it take to do well in such a demanding sport?

For me, consistency in training, eating and sleeping well are just as crucial (as persistence). And with any sport, you need to have a passion for what you are doing if you want to be successful.

What do you think are some of the biggest challenges students face these days?

For student-athletes, I think time management is a big challenge. Balancing a full class load and devoting time to your sport doesn’t leave much room for anything else. It helps to be organized and to plan ahead in order to stay on top of things.

Our current COVID situation has been a new challenge. I think I can speak for most athletes in that we are very careful about wearing masks and social distancing. None of us want to have to miss out because we have to quarantine, but unfortunately, it’s a new reality for us.

Who inspires you most?

It’s hard to pick just one, because I have had so many people in my life help and support me. My parents Theresa and Rick Hutchins, coaches, teammates and friends make all my experiences so much more special.