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Punxsutawney’s Hicks Making a Name for Herself in Cross Country and Track and Field Circles

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Jordann Hicks gets the question a lot.

What’s the deal with the extra “N” at the end of her first name?

Hicks clears her throat and explains.

“So, OK, my dad’s name is Danny and his name has double Ns,” she said. “Then I have a younger sister, Brynn, and her name has double Ns. And I have a brother, Connor, and his name has double Ns. I guess my mother (Kasie — not even one N in that name) just wanted to keep it going with the double Ns.

“I get so many questions about it,” she added. “Everyone wants to pronounce my name Jor-Dan.”

Running also has a double-N in the middle of it, and Hicks had been excelling at that since her freshman year.

People in the cross country and track and field circles are certainly getting to know the Punxsutawney senior’s name.

Punxsutawney Area High School sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Redbank Chevrolet and DuBrook.


Last fall as a junior, Hicks finished seventh at the District 9 Class 2A Girls Cross Country Championships and advanced to the PIAA meet, where she had a disappointing finish.

A track and field athlete since she was in junior high, Hicks joined the cross country team at Punxsutawney as a freshman.

What kept her coming back to the cross country courses was the camaraderie runners in that sport share.

“We all just have this bond,” Hicks said. “I don’t know how to explain it, but I love the people I ran with and the people who you get to meet when you’re running.”

Still, track and field remains Hicks’ favorite.

“I like it better because in cross country, it’s just one race and it’s over,” Hicks said. “But in track, you’re in a couple of events normally, so if I have a bad (1,600-meter run), I always have the 800 after that. I can always make up for a bad race with the next one.”

Hicks runs the 800, 1,600 and is on the 4×800-meter relay team at Punxsutawney.

The 800 is her best event, she said.

“The 800 is really what I was working on this year,” Hicks said. “The 800 was my thing this year.”

Hicks has set some big goals for herself on the cross country course this fall.

“I just want to run my fastest time and make it back to states again so that I can run better there,” Hicks said. “Last year at states was a little bit rough, so I want to go back again. It was nerve-racking. I normally don’t get nervous before I run, but there were a lot of people and I guess I wasn’t prepared enough for how many people were going to be in that race.”

Hicks hopes to run cross country and track and field at the collegiate level.

It wasn’t until her sophomore year that she set that goal for herself.

“I thought I would just focus on my academics,” Hicks said. “But I thought I’m going to be a runner forever. I might as well keep doing it in college.”


NAME: Jordann Hicks

SCHOOL: Punxsutawney

YEAR: Senior

SPORTS: Cross country and track and field

2021-22 HIGHLIGHTS: Placed sixth at the District 9 Class 2A Girls Cross Country Championships and qualified for the PIAA Championships.

Q: How would you describe yourself as an athlete?

A: A hard-worker. If I am going to do something, I’m doing it 100%.

Q: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while playing sports?

A: Nothing get handed to you. If you want to succeed, you have to be the one to put the hours and hard work to make it show in the end. In the sport of running specifically, I have learned that you have to be just as mentally tough as you are physically tough or you won’t go far.

Q: What’s your pre-race routine?

A: I give myself pep talks in my head to stay calm, and I crack my knuckles before I run.

Q: Who is your biggest sports role model and why?

A: Probably (Punxsutawney cross country and track and field coach John Snyder). He always pushes me to be better and believes in me more than I do myself sometimes.

Q: Sounds like he’s had a lot of influence on you?

A: He has. Any time I have a question, I ask him and he just knows exactly what I’m talking about. Any time I’m thinking something before a race, like I’m not good enough or something, he’s always reassuring me. It’s really nice.

Q: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

A: I actually do not like cheese unless it’s on pizza. I don’t really like cheese for some reason. I don’t know. On pizza, it’s not really a problem, but I don’t like cheese otherwise.

Q: So no cheeseburgers or grilled cheese sandwiches for you?

A: Nope. (Chuckling) I’ve never have mac and cheese, either.

Q: I bet that gets some raised eyebrows from your friends?

A: Sometimes they say it’s weird and say stuff like, “Everybody likes cheese.” I don’t. I just don’t have the interest for it.

Punxsutawney Area High School sports coverage on Explore and is brought to you by Redbank Chevrolet and DuBrook.