Track and field: Fenwick sophomore Grace Cronin catches onto hurdles quickly

<p>Fenwick sophomore Grace Cronin competes in the 100-meter hurdles during the ESCC championships at Concordia, where she finished first. | Jeff Krage/For Sun-Times Media</p>

Fenwick sophomore Grace Cronin competes in the 100-meter hurdles during the ESCC championships at Concordia, where she finished first. | Jeff Krage/For Sun-Times Media

Fenwick sophomore Grace Cronin’s hurdling career stemmed from a hunch.

“Certain kids have a natural ability and are fast,” Fenwick coach Dale Heidloff said. “I guess it was just my instinct to try her in hurdles. I saw her run and saw her as a high jumper and just thought her body type screamed, ‘Let’s try the hurdles.’ Sometimes you see something that looks right and you just hope it turns out great.”

It’s turned out better than great. Cronin was already a talented high jumper when she proved a quick learner in her new events last season.

“It was just one of those days where my coach said, ‘Hey do you want to try hurdles?’ and I was like OK,” said Cronin, who lives in Elmhurst. “I was a little nervous at first about running full speed into [hurdles], but I ended up really liking it.”

Fenwick will compete in the Class 2A Glenbard South Sectional Friday. Cronin has positioned herself to qualify for state in three events, based on her performance at the East Suburban Catholic Conference meet May 8. Cronin was named the Co-Most Valuable Athlete of the meet after winning the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and taking second in the high jump. Fenwick (73 points) finished fourth behind Benet, Marist and Providence.

Junior Olivia Ryan also had a big day, winning the 1,600 and 3,200 and anchoring the 1,600 relay that took second. Cronin’s breakthrough performance came last month at the Benet Invitational, where she broke one meet mark and tied another.

She won the 100 hurdles in a meet-record 15.45 seconds and tied the high jump record of 5-foot-4, which also matched her own Fenwick varsity record. Ryan, who hopes to qualify for state in the 1,600, 3,200 and 3,200 relay, marvels at the success her teammate has already enjoyed. 

[Read more at High School Cube News]

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