Player of the Week: Jenna Mallory

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Jacksonville cross country, track and soccer standout Jenna Mallory is our newest WITN Pepsi Player of the Week!

Sport specialization has certainly become a common trend among young athletes, but that is not the case for one outstanding Jacksonville student-athlete.

Cardinal senior Jenna Mallory participates and excels in three sports at Jacksonville High School.

Cross country in the fall.

Track and soccer in the spring.

"Set goals. Say prayers. And work hard."

That's how Jenna Mallory says she lives her life.

"No matter what, [Jenna] is always smiling and happy and positive and just a positive influence on everybody," Jacksonville girls soccer assistant coach Amanda Pelch said.

Now, you'll never hear the hard-working, three-sport student-athlete ever ask for praise.

"I definitely am not one to like being in the spotlight," Mallory said.

But she so deserves it.

"That type of student-athlete is once every couple of years, if once in a lifetime," Pelch added.

The senior proudly owns a 4.5 GPA and recently was awarded the NCHSAA Charlie Adams Scholarship. A gift worth $1,500 annually for one female cross country runner.

"It was just such an honor to have all of my hard work be recognized," said Mallory. "It was really cool to be a part of that and to not just see other people doing it but to be like, 'Okay you can dream big and get accomplishments like this, too.'"

She says running has taught her discipline.

"It is a lot of time management."

And says soccer has taught her leadership.

"You have to lead each other and be there for each other."

Either way, it's a mystery how she manages to balance all three, especially two in the spring.

"I have no idea how she balances everything that she does," Pelch said.

"My parents have always encouraged me to chase and follow my dreams, and they've believed in me even when I couldn't believe in myself," Mallory added.

Mallory will continue to chase her dreams when she studies physical therapy and runs both track and cross country at Montreat College starting next fall.

For more on Mallory, check out the video above! (Feature airs Tuesday during WITN Sports at 6:20 p.m.)

Mallory and the 7th-seeded Cardinals battle Rocky Mount in the opening round of the NCHSAA 3A Championship Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in Jacksonville.

NOTE: If you have a student-athlete that you would like to nominate as a WITN Pepsi Player of the Week, please email a bio to Tyler Feldman at tyler.feldman@witn.com.