Girls Track & Field: Northland mourns death of assistant coach Maureen Kennedy
During the Division I regional meet May 28 at Pickerington North, Northland assistant girls track and field coach Maureen Kennedy expressed her excitement to head coach Tom Fast about how well junior Nahdia Alcorn had run in the 400 meters.
Kennedy, who has been an assistant with the girls team and also served as the Vikings’ head girls cross country coach since 2001, talked with Fast the next day as well about how to help Alcorn prepare for what would be her first state meet June 4 at Hilliard Darby.
She never got a chance, though, to see Alcorn make her state debut.
On May 30, Kennedy, who was 42, died unexpectedly at her home.
“She really meant a lot to me,” Alcorn said. “She just said to always do your best. She taught me so much just to keep pushing through it all and always finish, always just keep going.”
Alcorn competed for the girls cross country team during each of her first three prep seasons, with the Vikings capturing back-to-back City League championships in 2018 and '19.
Kennedy also helped Northland’s girls track team win nine City titles and finish runner-up six times.
“It was a shock,” Fast said. “Friday night (May 28) everything was fine. And it was a lot for Nahdia to run (at state June 4). She had tears at the starting line.”
Kennedy was a 1996 graduate of Lakewood in northeast Ohio and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ohio State, where she also competed for the women’s cross country team.
She had been working as a biology teacher at Northland and is survived by her husband, Patrick Kennedy, as well as by two children.
According to Fast, Maureen Kennedy spent “thousands of dollars” over the years buying food for students at concession stands.
“She was looking forward to (running) the Columbus Marathon this fall and was training to requalify for (the) Boston (Marathon),” Fast said. “We had over 300 people come to a memorial service for her (June 2) and had other coaches talk about how they respected her. She walked the walk. She ran for Ohio State and she did things the right way. She had multiple college degrees, so when she gave the kids advice, no one was going to question that.
“The thing I liked about her was just that she was so humble and would do anything for the kids. There was a girl who ran cross country five or six years ago and she was last in every single race, but her goal was to break 35 minutes. She was at practice every day and when she got under 35 minutes, Maureen took her out to eat.”