“I do best when I stay busy,” says 2018 Bedford High School graduate Jenn Rennich.
That’s an understatement.
Rennich, a senior two-sport athlete at Westfield State University, has been named an NCAA Division III first-team academic all-American, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. She is only the ninth Westfield State student to be recognized since the honor began in 1952.
A movement science major with a concentration in sports medicine, Rennich has a grade-point average of 3.99.
One of the top women’s soccer players in New England, Rennich also starts on the Westfield basketball team. At Bedford High School, she won varsity letters in three sports every season for four years. “I think I do better in school with the time crunch to get things done,” she said.
Rennich said competitive sports have been part of her personal environment since childhood. “My family was really into playing sports and being active,” she said. “It has just always been there.”
She was playing soccer at age four and basketball at six or seven at Hanscom Air Force Base, which is when she said she discovered what it meant to be part of a team. The family moved from the base to Bedford the following year.
Rennich played soccer and basketball for two years and added a year of track at John Glenn Middle School before embarking on a remarkable athletic career at BHS. She was an Eastern Massachusetts soccer all-star as a junior and senior and was a top competitor in the 400-meter hurdles, triple jump, and high jump, as well as part of a relay foursome.
“And often I would have AAU basketball or club soccer at the same time as well, so I was super busy, Rennich noted, so “playing two sports at Westfield was not much of an adjustment.”
She was on several colleges’ radar, but Rennich said that she visited Westfield State for an overnight and, “It felt the most like home. The second I set foot on the campus, I could see myself there. And I have been very happy here.”
Rennich set a school record in women’s soccer last season with 18 assists, which also was the second highest total nationally in NCAA Division 3. She also scored 14 goals as the Owls won the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference championship. She was named a first-team all-conference pick for the third time in her career.
The Owls had a tough seed to open the Division III playoffs – top ranked College of New Jersey. Less than 48 hours after returning from the tournament loss, Rennich rejoined the basketball team, starting and playing 30 minutes in a 98-92 overtime loss to MIT.
The transition this year was “especially hard, because I knew soccer was done,” she reflected. “So I was keeping myself busy and not thinking about it and moving on.” (Rennich actually has an additional season of eligibility after losing the 2020 season to the coronavirus, but she intends to pursue her education.)
Rennich didn’t plan to compete in two intercollegiate sports at Westfield. But during her freshman year, Anthony Davis, father of her BHS basketball teammate Lauren Legere, asked her why she wasn’t playing. “And I sat down to write an e-mail to Coach (Andrea) Bertini to express an interest in playing as a sophomore, and she e-mailed me asking if I was interested in playing.”
Now Legere and Rennich are teammates again – – for the Westfield State Owls.
Rennich has soccer career totals of 27 goals, 38 assists and 92 points. She tied the school record for career assists and ends up tied for sixth in career points and 12th in career goals. She has the fourth-best single season points total with 46 this season.
As she fulfills her last season of intercollegiate competition, Rennich remarked, “I’m just really grateful for the recognition of all the work I’ve put in throughout my entire life, and grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way.”
That includes her parents, whom she said still come to every game, as well as her high school, club, and college coaches.
After graduation this spring, Rennich plans to concentrate on furthering her education in physical therapy. She has applied to the Mayo Clinic, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Boston University. “I’ve known I wanted to get into physical therapy since high school,” said Rennich. “I want to stay involved with sports.”
And what about that competitive instinct? “I will have to fund adult leagues to play in.”
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763