Track Star From Deutschland

Kajsa Gerkens broke the school district record for the 400-meter hurdles


Provided by Kajsa Gerkens

Exchange student Kajsa Gerkens after her races at the Drake meet.

Junior Kajsa Gerkens is a foreign exchange student who has done something amazing during her visiting school year– she recently broke the school district record for the 400-meter hurdles.

Her time was 66.66 seconds May 9, 2019. The old record was 66.77 second. The hurdles event is where runners have to jump over wooden frames and, if a runner hits the hurdle, the runner will be docked points.

“I started track in Germany and I was successful and wanted to continue to do track at Kennedy,” she said.
“I had a great time with track here in the USA.”

Gerkens came to Kennedy on a one-year exchange program. She will soon be going back to Germany to finish high school. After that, depending on what scholarships she can get, she might go to college in Germany or return to the USA.

She didn’t get a choice as to what American high school she would go to, or what state it would be in. She was sent to Iowa and said she has enjoyed her time here at Kennedy, not only her fellow runners, but also the classes and teachers at Kennedy.

“My favorite events would have to be the 400-meter hurdles, the shuttle run, and the 100-meter hurdles,” Gerkens said. “I enjoyed the track meets throughout the season and I enjoyed being with the team.”

Gerkens said attending the Drake Relays was one of her favorite meets. Going with Kennedy teammates to the event made it even more fun.

Running in the U.S. is not too different from her athletic routines in Germany, though in Germany most of the sports are clubs, rather than school programs. So when Gerkens was an athlete in Germany, she didn’t run for her school in the same sense as participating in an American program.

“Being able to run for my school [Kennedy] was something I enjoyed,” Kajsa said, “and I will always remember the fun I had.”