Jenna Lang ‘a great motivator’ for Bethel Park track and field team

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Saturday, May 20, 2023 | 11:01 AM


Bethel Park junior Jenna Lang has had her thought process firmly entrenched on her running abilities.

Lang is a three-year letter winner in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track, and was named a captain on the girls outdoor track team in 2022 and ‘23.

“For her career, Jenna is what we call 7 for 7 in qualifying for states,” Bethel Park coach Mark Jacobs said. “She has made it all three years in cross country, both years in indoor (there was no indoor season in 2020 because of covid protocols), and both years so far in outdoor.

“We have never had anyone make it every season they have run for us, so that would be a cool end-of-career goal for her. We would say she was 11 for 11.”

Jacobs noted that high school athletes like the 17-year-old Lang don’t come around too often.

“Jenna is a great motivator,” Jacobs said. “She is also a varsity cheerleader, and is enthusiastic for her teammates. Track is not a major ‘teammate’ sport; you are usually running on your own besides for relays, but she cheers on every one of her teammates, encouraging them to do well.

“She is an all-around great role model for our younger runners and that is why she has been a two-year and will be eventually a three-year captain for me.”

Lang was impressive at the 49th annual Baldwin Invitational held May 5 at a sunny Baldwin Stadium.

She won the girls 1,600-meter event in 5 minutes, 12.97 seconds as runner-up Anne-Catherine Brown of Cathedral Prep crossed the finish line more than six seconds later.

Lang also placed second in the 800 in 2:17.84.

“My season has been going good. I’ve run some PR times in the 800,” Lang said. “I’ve made some of the best memories of my track career with some of my teammates this year. I enjoy running moreso for the team aspect. My teammates and coaches are what make the sport fun.”

Lang has a 4.3 GPA in the classroom and is a sideline varsity cheerleader at Bethel Park.

But she loves to run. Lang actually participated in her first race at the age of 3.

“My favorite events are the 800 and 4-by-400 relay,” she said.

The Black Hawks’ 1,600 relayers, a record-setting bunch consisting of Lang, junior Artemis Conaboy, senior Lauren Heh and sophomore Sadie Orie, have qualified for the New Balance outdoor nationals to be held in June.

“I’m so proud of how far my relay team has come,” Lang said.

Earlier this season, Lang won two gold medals at the Tri-State Track Coaches Association outdoor championships. She took first place in the 800 in 2:17.06. She also teamed up with Conaboy, Heh and Orie to win the 1,600 relay in 3:59.37.

“Jenna’s season is going well,” Jacobs said. “She is winning meets and turning in good times. She is putting in the work at practice and the faster times should pop sometime soon. It just takes one race for that fast time to hit.

“Jenna’s biggest strength, besides her amazing work ethic, is her versatility. She can run any race from the 200 to the two-mile and be very good at it. As a freshman, she qualified for outdoor states in the mile and two-mile. She made it in the 800 and 4-by-400 last year in indoor and outdoor. This past indoor season, she was on a 4-by-200 team that qualified for nationals, on top of making states in the mile.

“Qualifying for those big meets in all those different events just shows her extreme talent. Those are just a few of the many times she has qualified for states.”

Lang finished as a runner-up in the 800 at last year’s WPIAL Class 3A championships.

This year’s WPIAL meet took place May 17. The PIAA finals are May 26-27 at Shippensburg.

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