Mike Panapinto has seen a lot during his 20 years with the Kenmore West track and field program.
But has never seen anyone make the impact and re-write the record books the way Christina Wende has.
“When her career is done she will be the most decorated track athlete at Kenmore West. And that’s saying a lot,” said Panapinto. “When she is done not only will she leave her mark on Kenmore West track and field but also Section VI and Western New York track.”
Wende’s career is far from over as she has signed to run track for Division I University at Buffalo.
“It doesn’t seem real,” Wende said. “It doesn’t really hit you that you’re a senior in high school until things like this happen.”
But before Wende steps onto the track for the Bulls she still has some business to take care of as a Lady Blue Devil. Namely, the Niagara Frontier League championships that will take place at “Sparky” Adams Field, May 23-24, at 4pm.
Wende’s career accomplishments between indoor and outdoor track include a staggering six individual Ken-West school records, she is part of three different relay teams that own school records, Team MVP the last two years.
Wende has also won five NFL titles, holds the NFL record in the triple-jump and was named MVP of last year’s NFL championship.
Wende, who took first place in four events: 100 high hurdles, 100 dash, long jump and triple jump-in last week’s win over Kenmore East, said that she still hasn’t fully comprehended how big of an impact the track team has had on her life.
“I don’t know where I’d be without the Kenmore West track team,” Wende said. “All the people I’ve met through the program. Lifelong friends and I’ve met some amazing coaches that have helped me along the way and help form me into who I am.”
Having received so much from the program Wende felt it was only right to give back. To be a positive influence on all of her teammates and leave the program better than it was when she first started.
“I definitely tried to do what the seniors before me did,” said Wende. “I’ve tried to coach them through some things. A lot of people have come up to me asking how do you come in first? How do you become faster? I tell them it’s how you practice. You’ve got to work in practice. You have to be driven to actually get better and you just have to work hard.”