HAVILAND, Ohio (WANE) – Sydnee Sinn paces back and forth on the asphalt, breathing heavily after sprinting 200 meters around Wayne Trace High School’s football field.
The senior fidgets with her watch, resetting her stopwatch before she has to sprint again. Sinn leans forward, one foot in front of the other, and bursts off her back foot.
With little effort, Sinn charges ahead of her classmates to the front of the pack. Her coach, Anita Branch, shouts the time out loud.
“25, 26, 27, 28!”
Hungry to beat her previous time, Sinn lunges across the 200 meter line. Sinn collects her breath, knowing she still has a few more 200 meter sprints ahead before practice winds down. With her classmates by her side, Sinn grins as she walks back to the starting line.
Anita and her husband, Troy, have led Wayne Trace’s track and field program for over a quarter century. In their years coaching student-athletes, they consider Sinn in a league of her own.
“She loves the sport, and she brings the love of the sport to the practices and sets a great example to the kids,” Anita said.
Sinn began her track journey in seventh grade, falling in love with the sport quickly. After COVID wiped out her freshman season, the mid-distance runner made an instant impact in her sophomore year by qualifying for Ohio’s Div. III state finals in the 400 meter run, 4 x 400 and 4 x 800 relays.
“I think then was then I really realized that maybe this is something I can do long term past high school,” Sinn remembers.
After a solid sophomore year, Sinn’s stock skyrocketed her junior year. Sinn won Div. III state championships in the 400 meter run and 4 x 400 meter relay. Prior to the outdoor season, Sinn started connecting with Division I colleges after competing in the New Balance Indoor Nationals meet.
One school stood out above the rest: Michigan State. Last November, Sinn signed with Michigan State track and field, becoming the first Wayne Trace female athlete to ink with a Big Ten school.
“Being a Division III school from Ohio, we don’t get as many looks as bigger schools or as Division I (schools),” Sinn said. “Getting that attention, being able to sign with a Big Ten, really not for me, but for all the athletes. It gives them more of a spotlight and lets coaches know we’re from small schools but we can still do big things.”
As Sinn blazes new trails for Wayne Trace, she’s also elevating the standards for her school’s track and field program.
“She nails it, and the other kids want to do it too,” Anita said. “It makes me proud of all the team for what they’ve done.”
With Sinn’s high school days dwindling, the senior is ready to earn a few more state titles before heading to East Lansing. Sinn and Wayne Trace are set to compete in the OHSAA Div. III District meet at Ayersville on Thursday and Saturday, with regionals set for next week in Fostoria.