GREENSBORO— Janessa Benn is in two serious relationships.
After the women’s track and field standout graduates in May with a civil engineering degree; she plans to get married and start a family. Then there is her other love interest – track and field.
“We have our good days and our bad days,” Benn said about track and field. “This week I fell back in love with running. “
The love affair led to Benn winning the 1500 meters at the 2013 Aggie Invitational on Saturday at Irwin Belk Track on Saturday. Benn led a group of Lady Aggies who performed well during the Aggies first home meet of the season.
Benn and track and field made nice with one another this past week after the Aggies coaching staff did a continuous run to prepare for the Aggie Invitational.
“I just love running in circles,” said Benn. “I know that sounds crazy to people, but when I don't have to be timed, I generally love to run.”
Benn, a native of Pittsburgh, was timed on Saturday. But she still excelled. She ran the first lap of the 1500 meters in 1:15. When she completed the second lap, the clock stood at 2:35.
“I should have completed my second split in 2:28,” she said. “I knew I was little off my pace, so I could go out and little faster, but I wasn’t quite sure how fast to pull away.”
Benn wanted to get out ahead and let the pack catch up with her before making her final kick. But the pack didn’t catch up until later, putting Benn in a situation where she started to fatigue as Hampton’s Cydney Robinson gained on her and took the lead. But Benn had enough stamina to overtake Robinson in the final turn to finish in 4:44.76. Benn said being at home made all the difference.
“It's easy when you're a distance runner to fall asleep,” said Benn. “You're just running in circles, you don't know what's going on, the next thing you know you're waking up and the race is over. When I have people cheering for me, I feel encouraged. You actually have people who believe in you. I try to do better because I hear some type of support. “
Benn wasn’t the only Aggie who utilized the support. Junior Roshel Bygraves ran a personal-best 54.61 in the women’s 400 meters to finish second. Freshman Tiffany Ellick finished second in the women’s long jump with her best leap going 17-feet, 8 ½ inches. Freshman Nakita Gray continued to excel in the women’s high jump. A week after her first-place finish at the Duke Invitational, Gray finished second after jumping 5-feet, 7-inches.
But it was Benn’s love affair that stole the day. As the MEAC Outdoor Championships approach, the distance runner hopes to improve on her second place finish in the 3000 meter steeplechase from last year’s conference meet.
After she ends her relationship with track, she plans to get a professional engineering license, a doctorate in environmental engineering, reignite her passion for ceramics and become an ordained Christian minister.
“I want to do everything, I want to be everything,” Benn said.