By Amira Van Leeuwen
BUDA — Sidney Kinnison has worn an Oklahoma sweatshirt since freshman year; in fact, it’s been a dream of hers to be a Sooner.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this Oklahoma sweatshirt,” said Ashley Akina, Johnson High School head track coach.
And on Nov. 9, Kinnison’s dream officially came true as she signed to commit to running track for the University of Oklahoma.
Kinnison remembers talking to one of her friends that morning and was in disbelief.
“We were in seventh grade when we started track. We never thought that we’d be here signing to run four more years in college,” Kinnison said.
She enjoyed Oklahoma’s facilities and connected with assistant women’s coach, Michelle Freeman.
“She’s almost like a laid-back coach. When you’re just hanging around, she talks to you like she’s one of you,” Kinnison said. “And then when it’s time to work and it’s time to practice, she puts her game face on and she makes you work.”
One of Kinnison’s favorite memories running track at Johnson High School was qualifying for state at the regional track meet with her four-by-two group.
“We were just all so excited because all of our hard work had paid off,” she said.
She hasn’t made it this far on her own. Kinnison’s parents have been an integral part of helping her succeed in her athletic career. Her mom helps with researching the times she’s competing against and her dad pays for her out-of-school coaching, which allows for more extensive training.
“It’s really been an honor to work with Sidney and this senior class, especially because they’ve really set a foundation for this track program,” Akina said. “We’ve been through opening a school with two grades, going through a pandemic and somehow, these ladies have really set the tone for us as a program moving forward.”
Akina said Kinnison has had a significant impact on the track program.
She’s run in two relays, stepped up in the high jump event when they needed her and has been a dominant force in 300-meter hurdles.
“I like to refer to her like the female version of Clark Kent or the ‘Silent Assassin’ because she is so quiet,” Akina said. “She wears glasses, normally, to school and then she takes those off and it’s straight business mode.”
Akina believes Kinnison is in great hands.
“Oklahoma has a great track program,” Akina said. “They have done very well in the Big 12, and I’m sure they’re going to do well in the SEC as they move in that direction.”