Amber Jenkins' athletic career began in her living room when she was 3.

She would climb onto the sofa and do flips off the end of it. Her mother, Cheryl, decided to enroll Amber in gymnastics.

Jenkins later took up soccer and track and field. She eventually dropped gymnastics but made a name for herself in soccer and track and field at Egg Harbor Township High School.

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The 18-year-old senior was EHT's top defender in soccer and was twice named the Eagles' Most Valuable Player.

Jenkins is one of the Cape-Atlantic League's top sprinters in track. She ran the fastest 55-meter dash of any CAL girl this past indoor season. She also began this week with the fastest 100 dash time this spring - 12.59 seconds. EHT is undefeated in dual meets this season.

Jenkins has overcome some injuries during her high school career. She missed her sophomore soccer season with a sprained knee ligament. She missed her junior outdoor track and field season with a pulled hamstring.

Jenkins, who will attend La Salle University on a track and field scholarship, is the youngest of two children. Her brother, Myron, 20, played in the band at EHT and is a sophomore at Rowan University. Her father, Myron, teaches at Ocean City Intermediate School. Her mother teaches at Egg Harbor Township.

In a telephone interview Wednesday night, Jenkins talked about a number of topics, including choosing track and field over soccer for her college and future career plans.

On her decision to go to La Salle: When I was choosing my school, I had a top six or seven, and La Salle wasn't in there at first. Then the coach gave me a call. I checked it out. A lot of teachers told me good things about the school. I went for a visit, and I loved it. I loved the whole atmosphere. It seemed like the perfect fit for me.

On her decision to pursue track over soccer in college: It's really hard now to say I'm not going to be playing soccer because I've been playing soccer ever since I can remember. When it came to La Salle, I was recruited for track. I think it's the best decision for me because soccer is a tough sport, and you do get hurt a lot.

On overcoming high school injuries: When I was out for track (last year), it impacted me a lot. I felt like I was missing a lot. Most of my friends do track, and not being able to get out there and run with them was really hard.

On when she realized she was fast: My dad used to take me to fun runs in Ocean City in the summer when I was younger. I would run the sprints and win them. After I won, I figured, "Maybe I'm a little fast."

On what she plans to study in college: I want to be an elementary school teacher. We have a class at EHT where we get to run a preschool and teach them. We also get to work with fifth-graders. Once I started doing that, I really liked that I could help kids learn. I like the atmosphere of it. Also, I want to be a coach, so (teaching) goes hand in hand.

On having her mom teach at the high school: At first, I wasn't very excited. But then after I realized I would be getting rides to school every day and lunch money whenever I needed, it was pretty good.

On what she does to relax: I like watching movies and listening to music. I do like to draw, but I'm not very good at it. Most of my projects in art class are related back to sports.

On not listening to music before a race: It distracts me. I just think about what I have to do. We went to the Rowan Open (last weekend), and they play music before the races. I did enjoy it. But it was funny. I was like the only one on my team not dancing. If I do get distracted, I'll be thinking about the song and not what I was doing in my warmups to get ready for the race.

Contact Michael McGarry:



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