Colette Kinsella (right) set a school record in the 3,200 meters at the IHSA Class 2A state meet on May 20, running a 10:51.62, her first time under 11 minutes. | Richard Skora

For her first and only IHSA Class 2A girls track and field state meet, Nazareth Academy senior Colette Kinsella had to scratch from the 1,600-meter preliminaries on May 19.

She was being honored as the school’s valedictorian.

Kinsella took advantage of the untapped energy the following day.

She finished an all-state fifth and set another school record with her 10:51.62 in the 3,200-meter run at Eastern Illinois University – her first sub-11:00 performance. 

“I was really just hoping to go sub-11:00. It’s good,” Kinsella said. “I had to scratch [the 1,600] but it was fine. I was still in the 3,200. Doubling definitely would have been tough later today [in the heat].” 

In her one track season, Kinsella also set the all-time indoor school record in the 1,600 (5:05.02 on March 25) and the outdoor 1,600 record with her second-place 5:14.23 at sectionals on May 10.

Kinsella had been playing girls soccer every spring before switching to track this season. 

In cross country, Kinsella was a four-time state competitor who earned all-state honors in her three IHSA-sanctioned races – 13th each time. She will next run for Vanderbilt University.

“It’s definitely more adrenaline [at state track] because there’s so much going on. It’s a fun environment and it’s fun to watch everyone,” Kinsella said. “I’m glad I did it.” 

Kinsella did enter this season with some track experience. In elementary school, she ran at St. John of the Cross in Western Springs with her mother as coach.

“It was definitely weird because I used to do the 4-by-100 and the 1,600. It was mostly just for fun, the whole grade was in it, but I kind of felt more comfortable just with that background, as little as it was,” Kinsella said.

“I’m super glad I came back to it.” 

Sophomore Clare Sandoval was 23rd in the 400 meters (1:01.89).