Catching up with Susie and Kenna

From the Sidelines

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Every once in a while, I get to write good things about Darke County athletes that have, or are, making their mark whether in college or the professional ranks.  In just the last 10 years or so we have had an Olympic Bronze medalist in Clayton Murphy, his chief competitor in High School Sam Prakel, and of course, the average tight end in High School, who became an average left tackle for the New England Patriots, and 3 time Super Bowl champion, Matt Light. (had to take that shot, buddy!) Of course there are others, and we should be proud of all of our athletes in the county.  Moving on (before Matt reads that!) This weekend I had the pleasure of keeping in touch with two of my favorite lady athletes from Greenville, Susie Blocher and Kenna Jenkinson.  Both are doing well, and I wanted to see how college life was treating them.

Susie Blocher, as you might recall, was a High School All-American as a junior at Greenville in softball. She was catcher, and played some first base.  Susie could hit, really hit, and was an excellent catcher, and always was positive.  As a Senior, back problems became the norm for her, and eventually led to 2 surgeries to fix the problem.  Now, at Muskingum College, Susie will play first base again, and is hopeful her back problems are history.  I talked to her and she said she was experiencing some soreness, she was sure from the surgery, but her movement was much improved.  She was very upbeat and was ready for her playing career to continue.

Right now, winter ball is in effect, and they are working hard for spring.  Muskingum she said will have 6 pitchers, 4 are Freshmen, with a total of 16 Freshmen on the squad!  They are young, and I suspect with Susie’s knowledge and work ethic, she will be a team leader for sure, although she is too modest to admit that.   Susie will be a Junior academically, but will be a freshman athletically due to a medical exemption.  She is majoring in Sports Exercise Science and Athletic training. She sounded happy and couldn’t wait for the season. I am sure good things are in sight for her. She is a fine young lady for other young girls to emulate.

Susie and her good friend Kenna Jenkinson, still keep in touch almost everyday.  Kenna, a real golf phenom, (I don’t want to play her…I’ve seen her play…….it would be embarrassing!) started her career at the University of Cincinnati. After her freshman season, Kenna decided to enter the transfer portal, and had more than 50 schools contact her. She opted for Troy University in Troy, Alabama, about an hour southeast of Montgomery.

As most golfers know, warmer weather and golf are meant for each other, and Troy has excellent facilities and some warm southern sunshine to allow Kenna more time on the golf course.(as I write this on Saturday at 4:45 p.m., it is 66 degrees there!) I talked to Corey, Kenna’s father, and yes, he too is excited for her to play in warmer weather with a really good coach in Randy Keck, a 15 year coaching veteran, and beginning his 7th year at Troy.

Troy is actually ranked higher than Cincinnati, they are 3 time Sun Belt League Champions, and as Kenna stated in her text “soon to be 4,5,6, and 7!” You gotta love that attitude and fire in an athlete!  I texted with Kenna on Saturday afternoon, and she said she was in a coffee shop downtown doing homework!

I have come to know both young women pretty well, and families, and they are representative of what athletes and people should be.  Both girls come from hard working parents (Kent Blocher, a long time truck driver like me) and I have known each other a long time, he’s a good man.  Corey, Kenna’s dad, is super proud of all his kids, and is Kenna’s biggest fan.  Both families can be proud of their daughters, not only because they are good athletes, but they are the kind of people that young women and all of us can look up too; hard working, dedicated, and thoughtful makes for good people.  They are good people!

That’s the way I see it………from the sidelines!