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Tennison on path to being among Newport's best

Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week

Standout distance runner appears to become one of the top runners in the school's history.

June 02, 2012|By Steve Virgen
  • Newport Harbor High junior Paige Tennison is the Daily Pilot High School Athlete of the Week.
Newport Harbor High junior Paige Tennison is the Daily… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

There have been some great female runners at Newport Harbor High, such as Amber Steen, Whitney Blue, Maggie Hanson and Buffy Rabbit.

The next in line appears to be Paige Tennison.

She's a different type of runner for sure, one who excels in long distances. In track and field, she has become a star runner in the 3,200 meters.

Tennison is a junior, so she hesitates to put herself among the school's greatest of all time. She knows she has work to do before that happens.

"It would be an honor to be even considered as they are," Tennison said. "I hope I can break the school record in the 3,200. I'm about five seconds off Steen's record and I think I have a chance at it."

Tennison, the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week, finished fifth in the 3,200 at the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet with a personal-best time, 10 minutes, 31.15 seconds. She qualified for the CIF State Championships. She'll try to break the school record Saturday night at Buchanan High in Clovis when she competes in the finals of the 3,200.

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She gained confidence with her personal record last week at Cerritos College. As she competed, the announcer introduced her as one of the elite runners in the state. She has lived up to the billing.

"It's so exciting," Tennison said of the thought of being an elite runner in California. "I never thought I'd be a runner and when I hear things like that it's so rewarding because I've worked so hard. I feel so blessed to be able to run and it's an honor to be considered an elite runner."

She showed how special she is during the fall, too. Tennison won the girls' sweepstakes title at the Orange County Cross Country Championships.

Reaching the State Meet in track and field has also been a great feat. She's making her debut in the state championships.

It gets Newport Harbor Coach Eric Tweit excited. He knows the experience will only help her as she goes into her senior year.

"We've been fortunate," Tweit said of coaching great runners like Steen, Blue, Hanson and Rabbit. "I think [Tennison] will run well [Saturday] night. We're excited.

"It's her first time at state. I want it to be a positive experience. I want her to finish in the top six and medal. If she can get on the medal stand it's just a great building block for next year."

Tweit hesitates a bit to put Tennison among the top runners in Newport's history only because he knows Tennison is nowhere near to being done. He believes she'll leave as one of the best in the school's history.

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