Jhenna Samara, 14 years old, is all about consistency.
She’s had perfect attendance since elementary school. She’s grabbed seven gold medals for track; and she’s now ready to take that success to Edmond Memorial High School.
Samara — who participates in basketball, volleyball and track — just graduated from Central Middle School. Participating in three sports was difficult at times, but Samara wanted to try anything and everything.
“At the beginning of the (school) year I wanted to play three sports and not quit,” Samara said.
She wanted to experience as much as she could.
“I feel that if you don’t try everything, it’s not there anymore,” Samara said. “It’s like wasted potential.”
Samara’s consistency is evident in both her continued perfect school attendance and repeat ventures to the top of the track podium.
As for punctuality, Samara said it gives her a sense of self-respect.
“People will look at it and go ‘that’s a great sign’ and I just really like that,” Samara said.
That’s what everyone else sees, though. For Samara, her copious amounts of activities puts stress on all the other roles. She said she's had to do homework in other classes, or on bus rides to and from games, as one of the many challenges her active lifestyle has created.
She’s found a love for writing, and another in photography after she provided artwork for the yearbook.
“It’s a little under the radar,” Samara said. “Not very many people know about it. It’s kind of sad nobody really knows what we do in yearbook.”
Her continued and consistent success — across all aspects of her busy life — is far from effortless. One athlete she looks up to is three-time olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings. Samara has met her personally.
“She was very genuine,” Samara said. “It felt as though we connected on a personal level.”
Throwing coach, Matt Harden, has taken the time better her skills.
“He has taught most everything I know about track,” she said. “He always goes out of his way to help his athletes prosper.”
Harden has been working with Samara for the past two track seasons. According to him, Samara loves to compete — even when some travel plans get cancelled due to outside circumstances.
“One of our meets got cancelled due to bad weather and she went and competed unattached to the team,” Harden said.
There, Samara won both the shot put and discus events.
Harden said he is excited he is for Samara to compete in high school next year. He touched on how one of the richest 6A girls programs may have just gotten richer.
“(Edmond) Memorial High School has a good record for throwers, especially girls,” Harden said. "They’ve won four straight track state titles.”
Samara sees the same future. Her short-term goal: Join the Memorial girls and take a state title.
That doesn’t mean she won’t be working toward long-term goals, either. Samara, who’s been a vegetarian since she was 9 years old, hopes to attend Baylor University on a track scholarship and major in veterinary medicine before opening a hopeful veterinary clinic named "The Vegetarian Veterinarian".
“I have always loved animals so much,” she said.