Jennilyn Krumpe ended the 2012 season with a simple lap around the track.
But it wasn't any normal track, nor was it any normal run. The Badger High School junior ended her sophomore year on top - a normal spot for the prolific 400-meter runner. She claimed the Division III girls state championship in that event and enjoyed reveling in the moments and days that followed. Krumpe enjoyed the well-wishers, but she didn't fully realize what she accomplished inside Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium at Ohio State University until Thursday - the first meet of the season.
"(Thursday), at my first meet, it really hits you when you're running the race - the first time after you already did it. It's like, 'Wow,' " Krumpe said. "The last time I ran this race, I won. Now, I'm running it again at a small track meet. It just feels so weird."
Tribune Chronicle file photo / Michael Taylor
Badger junior Leah Blaney placed seventh in the Division III state girls long jump last June in Columbus. Blaney and teammate Jennilyn Krumpe, who won the Division III 400-meter state title, are coming into this season off of their respective all-Ohio performances.
Junior Leah Blaney, who took seventh in the Division III state girls long jump, said she's been in a couple of indoor meets preparing for this year's outdoor season.
"I still want to go out and have fun," Blaney said. "I expect more of myself. I put a lot of pressure on myself. That's not necessarily bad pressure. It makes me work a little bit harder because I know where I want to be this year and I know I want to do better than I did last year."
During the month of April, most athletes tread the fine line between pushing themselves for May and avoiding serious injury.
"That's the trick, to keep them from getting injured, especially when they have the mentality of being hard workers," Badger girls coach Carrie Albert said. "They do push themselves. You have to make sure you're not overloading them, not putting them in too many events or pushing them to the point where they are injuring themselves. They take good care of themselves.
"At this point as juniors, they realize April meets aren't as significant as what happens in May. Whereas the younger athletes, they don't understand that and won't be upfront when something is hurting them."
Blaney understands she's working toward districts in mid-May and using April as practice.
"Telling myself these meets aren't the most important, the big ones will come later," she said. "It's OK if I mess up in those starts. That will happen. Physically, you're pushing yourself hard because it will pay off in the end. If something's wrong, something's tight or something's not feeling right, then you know you need to take it easy and figure out what's going on and what you need to do for that."
As for last year, it is in the past for Krumpe.
"I want to have a clean slate and not worry too much about it," she said. "I don't want to psych myself out for the season. I want to have a clean slate and go into like I did last year - take every step and know everybody is working the same and as hard as I am. Hopefully, I'll do the best I can."