Chena Underhill brings her dance moves to OPRF track and field

Chena Underhill is a trained ballet dancer who loves to leap. So it shouldn’t be any surprise that the Oak Park-River Forest sophomore is having plenty of success on the stage of track and field.

Underhill is one of many rising stars for OPRF, which finished second to three-time champion Lyons May 8 in the West Suburban Silver meet at Downers Grove North. Underhill was one of four different Huskies’ winners in five events. Underhill won the 300-meter hurdles (47.31 seconds) over senior teammate Amari Wilkerson (47.43).

Sophomore Norma Abdur-Rafia took the 100 and 200, while freshman Mary Bankemeier came in first in the 1,600. Outside of track season, Underhill’s other passion is ballet. She is member of MOMENTA, the Academy of Movement and Music in Oak Park. She trains four times a week for 2 1/2 hours a day with her ballet company.

“I’ve been doing ballet since I was age 3,” Underhill said. “I’m still doing it, but there is not as much time during [track] season.”

Underhill is in her first varsity season and hopes to qualify for the state meet out of the Class 3A St. Ignatius Sectional Thursday at Concordia University in River Forest. In her other three events at the conference meet, Underhill placed third on the pole vault and 100 hurdles and eighth in her newest event, the triple jump.



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