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Mar 14, 2023

Jack Chenoweth Following Family’s Footsteps in Record Time

By Tim Morris

Middletown North sprinter Jack Chenoweth captured the Monmouth County-Shore Conference double in the 400-meter dash this winter. Photo courtesy of Michael Chenoweth

Middletown North sprinter Jack Chenoweth is following the advice of his track coaches, Brock Silvestri and Ray Convey, and making his senior year “his year.”

Chenoweth remarked that following last spring’s outdoor track and field season, his coaches reminded him that the next school year would be his last and to “make it your year.”

Thus far, that is exactly what Chenoweth has done. He captured his first Monmouth County and Shore Conference indoor 400-meter championships and, helped the Lions Sprint Medley Relay team qualify for the indoor nationals. The Lion showed his versatility in sweeping the county-conference double.

In Monmouth Count race, he found himself lost in traffic and trailing the field early. After some inside moves, he was in third place and in position to strike in the homestretch. Using all his strength and inner drive, he took over the lead in the final 50 meters and held on for the win.

“The last 200 is where I perform my best,” said the Lion senior. “I work on speed endurance.”

Chenoweth flipped the script at the Shore Conference meet.

“I was aggressive and took the lead [from the start],” he pointed out.  “I was in total control.”

His winning times, 51.70 and 51.72, were among the fastest in the state. Chenoweth owns the school’s indoor (51.25) and outdoor (50.14) 400-meter records, and he was the 2022 indoor Central Jersey Group III champion in the event.

 “I love to compete and work hard,” said Chenoweth. “I’m a workhorse. I get a kick out of workouts.”

That work ethic is what has carried Chenoweth throughout his career but never more than this his senior year, thanks to the reminder of his coaches.

“I picked up my training,” he said. “I worked harder than ever. I ran cross country to build up strength, and I did track workouts during the season. My mindset going into every race is, ‘This is my last race. I’m going to win.’” 

The extra push in the summer and fall had him ready for big things this winter.

Convey called Chenoweth an in-between sprinter, one who can excel at a number of events.

“He has such great range,” said Convey. “He runs the 55, 200 and 400 for us. He could be a good 800 runner.”

For his part, Chenoweth added that he would like to give the 800 a real go.

“He has such a way about him,” said the Lions coach. “He has an ability to keep the pressure off. He’s so relaxed.”

With all his individual success this winter, the biggest highlight for the Lion sprinter was helping North’s SMR team qualify for the indoor nationals. Chenoweth, Trade Girgus, Christian Sanford and Aaron Guensch shattered the school record with their winning time, 3:37.61, at the Holiday Festival at Ocean Breeze on Staten Island. At the time, it was the fastest time in the country and good enough to qualify for the Nike Indoor Nationals (March 10-12) in New York City.

“I love the relays so much,” Chenoweth said. “I love running with a group of fast guys.”

Chenoweth noted that the Lions were looking to run around 3:41 to break the school record.

“We were in a fast heat, and we crushed the record,” he said. “It was great.”

Chenoweth’s also enjoys being a part of a team with collective goals.

“We have a really good group of guys who are willing to work hard for a W,” he said.

The Lions have won back-to-back outdoor state sectional championships.

School records aside, the 400 may not be Chenoweth’s best event. That just might be the 400 intermediate hurdles, another race that requires both speed and strength. He only started running the intermediate hurdles last spring and won the CJ III championship and had a personal best of 57.50.

“It’s harder than the open 400,” noted the Lion sprinter. “I’m still learning it. There’s a lot to learn about form and getting your steps down and hurdling with both legs.”

Chenoweth is excited to see what he can do in the intermediate hurdles this spring. He has been working on his hurdling form during the indoor season.

Chenoweth is following a family sprinting tradition. His older brother, Scott, and older sister, Delaney, preceded him at Middletown North and were his role models. And there is another Chenoweth, Declan, a junior, who runs the 400 as well and is on the Lions’ 4×400 relay team.

“He hands the baton to me,” said Jack. “It’s so cool to see, and it motivates me.”

Declan may someday be getting the baton from cousin Robbie Chenoweth, a freshman at North.