Jenna Janke honored for soccer skills
Former Newaygo Lion Goalkeeper Jenna Janke recently got word about a huge recognition from her playing days at NHS.
The National Federation of State High School Associations informed her that the 373 saves she amassed during a stellar season last Spring placed her 7th on the all-time national record list.
Her senior year saw her shatter the 12 year old state record by a phenomenal 77 saves. Two of her late season performances also made the record book for top ten saves in a game as she stopped 36 shots and 32 more in games just a week apart.
“Jenna worked hard to become a very good goalkeeper,” said Newaygo Head Coach Jason Long. “I enjoyed the opportunity to coach her. She has a bright future in front of her and I look forward to seeing what she can accomplish.”
These days Ms. Janke is setting up in goal for the MCC squad and in the last two Jayhawk matches she recorded a shutout in a 2-0 win over Lake Michigan College then left her spot in goal and took to the field to be part of the scoring parade in a 10-0 romp over Oakton CC firing in a pair of goals.
We caught up with this busy student/athlete to pose a few questions.
N3-#7 in the country is a huge accomplishment. Obviously you knew the saves were piling up but did you have any idea you were in line for a national ranking?
JJ-I never really thought to look at the national records so it never occurred to me that I could have been possibly up there! It was a big surprise to see that I made national ranking.
N3-When did you get interested in soccer?
JJ-I began soccer at the age of 5. Once I started playing, I knew that I loved this sport. Ever since then, my love for the game has grown tremendously. Having a record was never honestly one of my goals. My biggest goal was to play on a college team, but I more focused on giving 100% in the goal every second I'm on the field.
Who have been your mentors?
JJ-My main mentors were my coach, my parents and my best friend.
My coach (Jason Long) was always there for me and was always willing to help if I needed it. He pushed me to the best that I could be and more. He always shared positivity and laughter in practice and in games. He made me realize how fun it was to play the game. He was part of making me the player I am today.
My parents (Brian and April Janke) have been a big influence because they were always in my corner and always available to help me, even if it meant going to the field to spend a whole day helping me prepare for the game the next day. They are my biggest supporters and inspire me to do my best everyday.
My best friend, Kylee (Chesley), is also one of my mentors. Being her teammate is the biggest blessing I could ever ask for. She is the most positive athlete I have ever met. She can never cease to make someone smile and laugh. She helped me realize how to become a good teammate and overall good person.
N3-Best memory from high school team.
JJ-The first round of districts my senior year. I have to admit, we had a really rough season. Going into this game against Oakridge, we were no doubt the underdogs. My team set out to play their hardest on what was thought to be our final game. Throughout the first half, Oakridge sent shots left and right. We rarely had possession. Finally, Oakridge scored. It was 1-0. Of course, our heads were down because in our minds we thought this was the end. The last seconds of the first half, we had a small breakaway. One of our forwards meant to pass the ball in front of the net to another forward, but accidently scored! None of us could believe it. At half, our coach told us that we are now in the game. I told the team that if we can score 1 goal, another goal is possible. We're in the game and we can win. There no goals scored in the second half. The score was 1-1. We went into double overtime and were still tied. We went into shootouts. We told each other that no matter what the outcome was, we played a heck of a game and this would be a great end to the season. Newaygo was shooting first. Then Oakridge. We went back and forth until the final shot. I was in goal and the score was 2-3. We were up by one. If this shot was saved we would win. The Oakridge girl shot and I just barely was able to touch it to push it out of the net. We won. It was the most incredible feeling in the world that the team that was thought to be out in the first round was moving on to the next. That is the proudest I have ever felt of my team.
N3-You’re playing at MCC with the Jayhawks team. How different is the college game from high school or travel team play?
JJ-The college game is so much different than high school. As I started playing for this team, it was like starting over and learning the sport all over again. I have learned so much from my coaches and have grown so much as a player because of it.
N3-You recently recorded a shutout in a match that halted a 2 game losing streak. I believe it was your first.The communication between you and your defenders must have been clicking. Care to tell a little about the match and what that was like for you?
JJ-The game we previously won was kind of slow for me. The other team only had a total of five shots. This game was good for our team. It helped us grow in communication and skill set to use in games. My defense had my back no matter what and yes, we were connecting really well. This was a game we needed to help boost our confidence and show our greater potential as a team.
N3-What are you pursuing at MCC and are there plans to continue school after your two years there? If so is soccer part of those plans?
JJ-Right now, I plan to finish my general classes and after two years, transfer to a four year to pursue a degree in occupational therapy. I'm not positive if soccer are part of the plans yet, but I would love to continue playing on.
N3-What would you say to players who hope to compete at the collegiate level as you are doing?
JJ-To those players, I would say that if they wish to play at the collegiate level, they not only need to be a good player, but also a good teammate. Coming together as a team is the biggest component of success.
Also, you have to give 100% into everything you do. It takes hard work and dedication to get to this level.
Nothing comes easy.