Laney Kronz recalls her first brush with Candace Hill.
It was in eighth grade, when Kronz began running with Titans Elite Track Club, the same club as the promising phenom from Conyers.
“She was my age now whenever I was with her, and she was just beating all the guys that are even DI,” Kronz said of Hill, who has won four gold medals since 2015 while representing the United States. “So, when you see that, it’s kind of crazy. But she does the 200 and the 100, so I didn’t really hurdle with her or anything. But when I would do endurance stuff, I would run with her.”
Kronz, a standout track and field athlete at Forsyth Central, is building an impressive resume of her own.
Kronz placed fifth in the 100 hurdles and ninth in the long jump at last year’s state championships, she holds several school records, and in November, she signed to the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
“You can tell when she was a freshman that she had a lot of talent,” Forsyth Central track and field coach Scott Walker said. “The best thing about her is her work ethic. The young lady really works hard every day in practice. At meets, she gives her all. The bigger the meet, it seems like the better she performs.”
Kronz believes training around that level of competition is one reason why she grew into the athlete she is now.
“I would say so, because Titans track is really intense and I was surrounded by a lot of good people,” Kronz said. “So, it was hard because in the beginning my coach wouldn’t really give me the time of day, and so that was one of the reasons I left. But then I had to work my way up, and then I ended up breaking through that wall and being better than I thought I would be. It was definitely something I had to work for. It wasn’t necessarily easy.”
Kronz plans to compete in the heptathlon in college, a combined event that features 100 hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meters, long jump, javelin throw and 800 meters.
Walker calls Kronz a true athlete and expects her to be competitive no matter the event.
“Heck, if we needed her to run the 400, she’d be a great 400 runner, too, Walker said. “If we needed her to run the 100, she’d be great at that. She’s one of the legs in our 4x100 that has a school record.”
As a whole, the Bulldogs are in good shape entering 2020. Three of Central’s five county champions from a year ago return: Kronz (100 hurdles), Evelyn Garcia (discus) and Trent Fields (high hurdles).
The boys squad finished 10th at last year’s state meet, the highest out of all county schools, but must replace 2019 Forsyth County News Runner of the Year Calan Gizelbach, who is now a freshman at the University of Dayton.
Kronz has been a significant contributor to the Bulldogs’ track and field team since her freshman year, but last year is when she saw herself take the next step.
“Last year is when I started getting really serious about getting healthy, and it really helped, I think, to get from that DII level to that DI level,” Kronz said. “That was definitely something that helped me a lot.”
She began weight training and carving out a healthier diet – two things she said her father was instrumental in changing.
“Protein, lean meats, veggies – I’m really obsessed with fruits, almost to a fault,” Kronz said. “Fruit’s kind of an everyday thing. Veggies and lean meats, like chicken and then in the mornings, eggs and stuff like that.”
Now, with her training down pat and the next four years of her life secured, Kronz can simply focus on her senior year, which includes grooming the Bulldogs’ underclassmen for when she is no longer there to lead by example.
“Just be a leader, which I can focus on even more this year because I’ve kind of already hit the marks I need to. Now it’s just kind of icing on the cake,” Kronz said. “So, I want to be a good leader, and I want to teach other people, like the upcoming hurdlers and the upcoming long jump people.”