2014 SALEM NEWS GIRLS SPRING TRACK RUNNER OF THE YEAR
After capturing Runner of the Year honors for the indoor track season, Kristen O’Connor has done it again in this, the spring outdoor season. The Panther captain was named team MVP as as well as the Northeastern Conference’s Most Valuable Player.
The versatile athlete excels in many events, having participated in the 400 hurdles, 100 hurdles, triple jump and high jump. She was also a member of Beverly’s 4x400 relay team, running a 59.3 split. When needed, O’Connor could also run a solid 800 meters.
“She does so many things well — and all at a very high level,” Beverly coach Dave Jellerson said about O’Connor, who was recruited to play soccer at Bryant University. “She was almost guaranteed to get 20 points a meet. It’s too bad we couldn’t go to states, but it was the same day as our graduation.”
An NEC all-star O’Connor was undefeated in the 400 hurdles, high jump, triple jump and 100 hurdles. She set a new school record in the 400 hurdles and was on the record-setting spring medley relay team. At the league meet O’Connor won the 400 hurdles, triple jump and was a member of the winning 4x400 relay team to help the Panthers win the championship.
Her bests of the season were a time of 64.34 seconds in the low hurdles, 50.5 seconds in the 400 meter, 35 feet 9 inches in the triple jump, 15.6 seconds in the high hurdles, 27.3 seconds for the 200 meters and 4 feet 10 inches in the high jump. O’Connor was on the sprint medley relay that was second at the State Coaches Invitational.
“My mom has been my biggest influence because she never missed a meet and always encourages me,” said O’Connor. “Both coaches (Dave) Jellerson and (Chandler) Jones always helped me to reach my potential and were very supportive.”