GRANGER TWP. — Kaylie Kenne has established herself as one of the best runners in the state. Now the Highland senior will be competing with the top runners in the country.
Kenne announced Tuesday she will continue her cross country and track careers at the University of Kentucky, joining an up-and-coming program in the rugged Southeastern Conference.
“It’s an amazing opportunity,” she said.
As Kenne shuffled through the numerous letters she received over the last year and a half, it was no secret she was a valuable recruit to most Division I programs, including Syracuse and North Carolina State.
In the end, the multiple-time All-Gazette selection in both sports realized the Bluegrass State was where she wanted to be. After visits to Kentucky and Louisville, the visit with the Wildcats stood out.
“The main reason I chose UK over Louisville and the other schools was because when I was at Kentucky, I felt a stronger connection with the team,” the 17-year-old said. “I spent a lot of time with them, which was a really fun experience. I felt the fit was a little better.”
An All-Ohio runner in track and cross country, Kenne has been a staple on the local and state scene since her freshman year. At 5-foot-3, she dominated the competition as the Suburban League American Conference Runner of the Year and seventh-place finisher at the state cross country meet as a junior. On the track, she was a three-event state qualifier a year ago and has been among the top 3,200-meter runners in the region during that time, earning multiple conference titles.
“All of the big D-I programs I visited were amazing,” said Kenne, who also was looking at Temple and Virginia Tech. “The UK team has been on the rise the past couple of seasons and, on my official visit, I learned that it is a very young team. I feel there is a bright future there.”
Kenne plans on becoming a chiropractor, something the nationally recognized health science department at Kentucky will help her achieve.
In the meantime, she is preparing for her third and final trip to the state cross country meet this weekend.
“It was a tough decision and stressful at times, but I was so lucky to have so many great programs that believed in me as a runner,” she said. “I am so excited to have had the experience and am excited to be a Wildcat next year.”
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