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Jenks Gazette

Jenks Senior Ally Ryan to Run at Kansas

GTR Sports Writer

FAMILY AFFAIR: Jenks senior cross country and track athlete Ally Ryan signs a letter of intent in November to run at the University of Kansas. Members of her family stand behind her at a ceremony taking place at the school. From left are Steve Burger, uncle; Denise Burger, aunt; Keith Ryan, father; sisters Kendall and Bailey Ryan; Lisa Ryan, mother; and Gene Ryan, grandfather.

Courtesy Jenks Athletic Dept.

Just one visit to Kansas and Ally Ryan had made her decision. Lawrence would be her destination to run track.

The Jenks senior signed an official letter of intent to run at KU during the early signing period in November in a ceremony at the school before her coaches, family, and friends with “Rock Chalk, Jayhawk” being played in the background. Her name was also chanted by those in attendance.

“They played the Jayhawk chant. It was really awesome to have them here to support me,” Ryan says.

The trip to Kansas was her fourth college visit. She had previously looked at Indiana, Georgetown and Villanova and cancelled an upcoming trip to Vanderbilt.

“I really liked Indiana. I thought that was where I was going to go,” Ryan says. “I didn’t think any place could top that, so I figured if someplace did, that was the place for me. So, right when I was on campus (Kansas), I knew that was where I wanted to go.”

While running for the program may be a new experience, running on the KU track will not.

“We race there every year at Kansas relays,” Ryan says. “I love racing and always race well there. I like Lawrence. I really like the coach, and I like the team. It really is a good group. I’m going to get better and they’re going to push me.”

The biggest accomplishment made by Ryan so far in her prep career was setting a record last spring at the Class 6A state meet, in which she ran a time of 2:09.28 in the 800-meter run, eclipsing the former mark by nearly two seconds (2:10.86).  That, of course, got her a gold medal.

“That was probably the happiest moment of my life, honestly,” Ryan says.

Ryan gave up two other sports – basketball and softball — to devote more time to running. She was a pitcher in softball from age 7 until her junior year.

 “Track is my favorite thing,” she says. “I just like the idea that you can put in hard work and see progress throughout the season.  I like the satisfaction of running a hard workout, knowing you did it well and can do it better.

Ryan ran cross country for the first time in her senior year. To do so, she didn’t participate in softball. She placed third in the state meet back in October with a time of 18:44.

“It was a good experience,” she says. “I liked it. It was a little out of my comfort zone, but it was fun. I just like to run, and anytime I can run, I’m just happy to be there.”
Ryan still has one season left at Jenks. She hopes to break the record again at this year’s state track meet in May.

“I don’t think I’ve shown my full potential in track because I’ve been a softball player,” she says. “I haven’t actually trained a full season before. So, this season, I’ll actually have a full season of training on me.”

As for the academic end of the spectrum, Ryan plans to be a business major and seek a career in sports management.

“I know I want to work in the sports industry. I can’t see myself doing anything outside of that. I want to work with athletes,” Ryan says.

While she looks forward to watching the Jayhawk basketball team, perennial powers in the sport, she has stated clearly what her goal is.

“I’d like to be a national champion,” she says.

Ryan attributes her success to always having a good attitude.

“I always want to be competitive at track. I look forward to track from the minute I step out of bed. It’s the best part of my day every day,” she says.

Updated 02-07-2018

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