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Security Federal Athlete of the Week: April 10-16

Partnering with Security Federal, the Warren County Sports Authority will honor a standout local athlete each week. The WCSA and the Friendliest Bank in Town love seeing great athletic achievement and there are plenty to pick from every week in Warren County. From winter to summer, spring to fall, and on courts, fields, diamonds, dance floors and anywhere else an athlete can succeed, Security Federal and the Sports Authority are going to be on the lookout for the best of the best!

High Jumper Ally Beneke

There have been a lot of track events across Tennessee this spring and hundreds of girls take the leap in the high jump, but none have flew through the air quite as high as Lady Pioneer Ally Beneke.

Beneke, a state medalist last year, has solidified herself as one of the best jumpers in the state this season, including setting the high mark across the state last week. Beneke cleared 5-foot-7 last week in Cookeville, easily winning the event while also sending a message across the state about who could be the athlete to beat next month.

Along with becoming the current state leader in high jump, Beneke also broke the school record she set last year. She shattered a mark that had stood for 20 years as a sophomore and is now pushing it to a level that Warren County hasn’t seen in 50-plus years (and may not see for 50 more years after she leaves).

Beneke has been an instant sensation for the Lady Pioneers despite not attending Warren County High School. She’s one of many co-op athletes who attend DeKalb County, which doesn’t offer a track program. Beneke was also an all-district performer last fall for the Lady Pioneers in volleyball.

The Lady Pioneer standout is scheduled to be back in action when the team travels back to Cookeville Friday, April 22.

Warren County will be able to use the next seven days as a tune-up before taking part in the subsectionals at Riverdale April 28-29. With a strong showing next week, Beneke would get a step from state and move into the sectionals (scheduled to be held May 10 at Cookeville).

The state tournament is slated for May 24-26 at MTSU. Last season, the Lady Pioneers had five athletes make it to the event, including Beneke.

Honorable Mention: Ella Van Vranken

While she’s not currently the state leader in any field, Van Vranken may be the fastest Lady Pioneer in the history of the school. The craziest part: she’s just a sophomore.

Van Vranken has set school records in the 400 and 3,200 races this year, while she already broke long-standing marks in the 800 and 1,600 last season (she’s come within seconds of breaking her marks again this year). She’s also one of the top runners on relay teams for the Lady Pioneers, keeping the program in the conversation for fastest in the Midstate.

Van Vranken has her sights on more invites to the state tournament this year – last season she qualified as in individual in the 800 and 1,600, along with running a portion of the 4x800 race for Warren County. Like Beneke, Van Vranken is a DeKalb County student who is becoming a beloved Lady Pioneer every spring.

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