For the previous three springs, Kendra Cain has competed in track and field for Princeton High School.

The PHS graduate was a long jumper and also competed in sprints and relays.

Cain had plenty of highlights in track and field for the Tigresses, including winning the Three Rivers Conference title in the long jump as a sophomore.

But, she felt something was missing in her athletic career.

So Cain returned to the softball field this year.

“I missed it,” Cain said. “I play summer ball down in Chillicothe, so I’ve been playing the past couple years. I figured my senior year I really wanted to play the sport I love the most for Princeton High School.

“I knew there was a talented group coming and we could do something special.”

The Tigresses certainly did.

Cain played a key role this season as the team’s lead-off hitter and right fielder as Princeton is 15-10 and claimed the program’s first-ever regional championship on Monday with a 4-3 victory over Erie-Prophetstown in the Class 2A Alleman Regional final.

Cain and the Tigresses move on to the Orion Sectional today.

“We have a really talented freshman class and a really talented senior class that were able to come together and combine our talent to get something really special,” Cain said. “I think it’s going to be super exciting moving forward.”

And the best part, Cain didn’t have to give up track and field to play softball.

Cain also competed in a handful of track meets for the Tigresses, including the Class 2A La Salle-Peru Sectional and the Ferris Invitational.

On the day of the Ferris at Princeton, Cain won the long jump before heading over to the softball field to face Erie-Prophetstown. Cain also joined softball teammates McKenzie Hecht, Taylor Wetsel and Hannah Muehlschlegel to run the 400-meter relay in 54.61 seconds at the Geneseo Invitational.

Cain and her softball/track and field teammates aren’t the only area athletes doubling up or switching sports this year.

La Salle-Peru junior Ashley Heagy added cross country to swimming in the fall and became the NewsTribune Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

At Hall, Devin Soldati and Christian Stefaniak left the Hall baseball team after being part of the Red Devils’ state championship last season to join the Hall track and field team.

Now, Soldati will compete at state track in four events and is likely to bring home multiple state medals.

In this day and age when so many athletes pick a sport at a young age and focus solely on that, it’s nice to see some athletes continuing to play multiple sports, try new sports or return to sports they’d previously given up.

Kevin Chlum is the NewsTribune Sports Editor. He can be reached at 220-6939, or at sports@newstrib.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.

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