Carrington's Wendel balancing softball and track
Wendel is one of three Cardinals hitting over .600 with at least five plate appearances this season.
CARRINGTON, N.D. — Kennedy Wendel’s days this spring are incredibly busy. The Carrington senior participates in five different events for the track and field team and is a corner infielder for the softball team.
“It’s been honestly really difficult, just this past week I’ve been in track practice since from like 5:30 (at night) to 6 o’clock almost every day,” Wendel said. “I’ve been basically missing softball practice for almost two weeks, it’s really difficult, it’s just getting into softball before the practice is over. I definitely feel it on my body too, track is a very physically demanding sport and adding softball on top of it, it gets me sore but I’ve managed and I haven’t gotten hurt yet.”
Wendel is the only upperclassman on the Cardinals softball team which is in its second season. Cardinals head coach Brady Smith is helping Wendel and her sister, Isabel, balance both sports throughout the season.
“Sometimes if their track practices go super late, there is some days where they can’t come, that’s just the way it is sometimes but if anything I will make them do some sort of batting practice or some sort of hitting practice if they have time,” Smith said. “I know Kennedy, she’s in a lot of events, she has the javelin at the end of practice every day and I know that goes kind of late.”
Wendel said she has been playing softball since she was a little kid starting with t-ball and then slow-pitch when she was around 10 years old.
“Then our school started fighting for a fastpitch program, a school one, and as soon as that happened I just jumped right on,” Wendel said.
Wendel said her passion for the sport started with watching her brother Connor play baseball growing up and watching college softball on television. Wendel said she is going to miss playing alongside her sister in softball. Smith said Wendel’s best skill is at the plate and in her vocal leadership and that she needs to work on her footwork at first base.
When she is on the diamond, Wendel plays first base and third base, which enables her to learn from Smith, who played third at Valley City State University. Although she has been playing only first this season.
“With Kennedy specifically I would say, again with footwork she had a tendency sometimes to stretch a little bit early when the ball was coming, so teaching her to time up the throw and stepping to the ball when it’s coming to her,” Smith said. “That was probably her biggest deficit that I saw at the beginning of the year but with little technique work she has been a lot, a lot better.”
This season, Wendel has played in two games, hitting .600 with one walk, seven RBIs and two stolen bases. On the track, she runs the 100-meter race, the 100-meter hurdles, the 300-meter hurdles and the 4-by-100 relay. She also throws the javelin for the team. This season her fastest time came in the 100-meter dash on May 6, when she ran it in 13.84 seconds. Her longest throw of the season is 89 feet, 10 inches set on May 5.
Wendel said track takes priority over softball except in instances where there are track meets on back-to-back days. She said she picks track over softball since she has been running track for the school longer. However, she said she prefers softball over track.
“I understand it but it sucks when you have to choose between the two of them,” Wendel said.
Despite her busy spring sports schedule, Wendel is not participating in either sport at the collegiate level. She is committed to play volleyball at the University of Jamestown.
“I’ve been around UJ volleyball, I feel like my entire life,” Wendel said. “My sister Madison played for them and I’ve gone to all of their volleyball camps and I’m familiar with the head coach (Jon Hegerle) and the assistant coach (Jake Fulsom) was actually my spring and winter season JO (club volleyball) coach for two years. So, I’ve just been with the program for so long that it just felt like the place to be.”