WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Lakota West High School graduate Annika Kinley can't stop smiling a week after earning All-American honors at the Nike Outdoor National Meet in Oregon.
Kinley earned third place in the high jump event, with a season-best jump of 5 feet 8 1/2 inches.
"It was a big stage," Kinley said. "There were so many competitive jumpers, and it was cool to be against the best of the best. And also knowing the (Olympic) Trials were just there and competing on the same stage as my favorite high jumpers right now."
That mark set a new school and school district record, according to Lakota West sports information director Darren Walters.
"I definitely overperformed," Kinley said of the Nike meet. "So that was my best this season that I had gotten, which I had been training to peak for that."
Kinley was the Division I state runner-up this spring (5 feet 7 inches). She cleared 5-9 during the indoor season this past winter.
The University of Cincinnati signee made a significant effort to prepare for the national meet after the state meet. All the preparation certainly paid off.
"Annika's success is just due to her extreme hard work literally throughout the year," said Lakota West track and field coach Brenton Eisenhard.
Eisenhard said Kinley's family and Lakota West high jump coach Tiffany Brummer have been instrumental in her success. Kinley also broke the school record in the 400-meter dash this past spring.
"It was really, really cool to see an athlete of ours go out to Eugene and compete in the same exact spot where they just had the Olympic Trials and do really, really well," Eisenhard said.
Kinley is looking forward to attending UC, where she plans to study architectural design. She will compete with the Bearcats during the indoor season in the winter and then outdoors next spring.
"My goal is you always want to hit that big six-foot (jump); that would be great," Kinley said.
"That's my big goal. But, overall I just want to be a competitive athlete for UC."
Eisenhard says he sees Kinley reaching her goals in athletics and beyond. Kinley participated in the Student Athlete Advisory Board (SAAB), a leadership training group within the Lakota West athletic department. She would like to become an architect one day.
"She is going to be a great leader," Eisenhard said. "I look for her to become a leader at UC. She is just an all-around great kid. She really deserves all the success that has come her way this year."