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The Paw Print

The Paw Print

The Paw Print

Athlete of the Future: Caiden Kennedy

Julia Swanson

In the San Gabriel Valley, the first light of day casts a soft, rosy hue on the horizon, dew-kissed grass sparkles under the gentle touch of the sun’s early rays, and a light breeze carries the fragrant notes of blooming flowers and fresh earth through the early morning air. An audible rhythmic crunch comes from freshman Caiden Kennedy’s shoes on the cold, wet cement as he begins his morning run, his silhouette dancing through the elusive early shadows. A dedicated runner and member of the Poly varsity cross country team, Kennedy begins many of his mornings this way.

Running is in Kennedy’s DNA. The athlete attributes his love of the sport to his mom, a cross-country runner in college. With his dazzling speed and stunning endurance, the product of years of training, he has led the Panthers since the first meet of the season. At the UCSB Invitational on Sept. 2, he etched his name in the record book of top 10 Poly performances with a three-mile time of 18:25 minutes. He has since medaled at the Rosemead Invitational on Sept. 9 with a blazing 5k time of 17:50 and placed 11th at the Prep League meet in Long Beach on Sept. 19 with a 5k time of 17:58 minutes.

The uniqueness of cross country encourages building strong personal connections and a tightly-knit community. Kennedy has grown close to many of his teammates, finding motivation in their camaraderie. Kennedy said, “You have to trust your teammates, and they have to trust you that you are getting better to support the team.”

Coaches and teammates alike are quick to recognize this budding star. Teammate junior Matteo Mazzie said, “He is always up for the challenge of going the extra distance to improve his endurance and abilities as a runner, and he motivates the team every practice to give every workout our full effort.”

Many of Kennedy’s teammates echo Mazzie’s words, saying Kennedy’s talent and team spirit inspire them to push their own limits. Mazzie added, “He and I have grown so close through our runs and shared experiences of hardship that I would not hesitate to ask him to be the best man at my wedding.”

A freshman with immense promise, Kennedy strides onto the cross-country scene with unmistakable determination.

“Caiden is an extremely coachable athlete,” said head cross country coach Rick Caragher. “He listens intently, applies himself fully to the training by working hard and not taking shortcuts, and never, ever, makes excuses. Most people want to be good, even great, but few, like Caiden, are willing to make the sacrifices to be great.”

As the season unfolds, it has become evident that this young athlete is destined for greatness, setting his sights on the podium and laying the foundation for a remarkable cross-country career. The Poly community is excited to see how Kennedy will progress over his four years in high school.

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Naomi Trebi-Ollennu, Student Contributor
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