Janee Faulkner has had plenty of great moments and special memories during her four years at Skyline High School, but there is one that really “lights” up a smile on her face.
“My favorite memory from track has to be last year at our dual-meet against Saline,” she says. “It was about 9 p.m. and we still had to run the 4×400 relay, which decided who won the meet. Our track doesn’t have lights so everyone on our team and Saline’s team lined the track with our phones for the runners to see. It was a fun time for everyone involved and we ended up winning which was great.”
When everything is added up, Faulkner also ended up “winning” after spending four years working and studying hard. She was popular with classmates and teammates alike and was one of those student-athletes who led by example. And those who got to know her best over the last four years can’t stop talking about her – and for good reason.
“Janee Faulkner is one heck of an athlete and even better person,” says Skyline girls’ basketball coach Johnnie Horne. “I have had the pleasure of coaching her for four years and it has been a blast.”
Horne says he doesn’t know where to start when talking about Janee.
“She stays busy between basketball, track, band, concerts, and who knows what else she is involved in, but always manages to go above and beyond in each one while still managing to keep her grades up,” he said.
Janee was voted team MVP by her teammates all four years at Skyline.
“I think it is safe to say that whatever Janee decides to pursue in college and in her professional career after that she will WIN because she is not afraid to put in the work necessary to be successful,” Horne says. “I cannot wait to see it unfold just as I have had the opportunity to see her growth since freshman year.”
Janee is one half of the Faulkner sisters at Skyline. Her sister, Renee, has been with her step for step during every step of her life and it’s a special relationship of love, friendship and support.
“It is nice to have someone that is always by my side when I need it because we had to take the same classes and we did everything together and that is something only a few people get to experience,” Janee says. “The thing I like most about Renee is that she is very timely and precise about everything which is nice if I forget something, because I forget a lot of things.
“Renee has taught me many things. She taught me how to cook and how to make little crafts. She’s more organized than me, and I hate to say it, but she is smarter than me and helps me with my homework. There isn’t much I’ve taught her, but when it comes to sports, I am able to help her when I see something that might need a little tweaking.”
It was a rough senior year in the win-loss column for the Skyline girls’ basketball team but everything is not measured on the scoreboard. “Basketball was quite the rollercoaster for me and the team,” Janee says. “Things never worked out exactly how we wanted, but we always made the best of our time together. We always stayed positive and played our hardest no matter what.
“I’m going to miss the girls I have been playing with for a long time like Alaina, Cammi, and the Smith twins.”
Janee really enjoyed her time in track and field. After a “terrible” freshman year, she made huge improvements as a sophomore and even qualified for the state meet. “My junior year was the same thing,” she says. “I made steady improvements and went to states in the shot-put and discus.”
Last year, Janee placed fifth in the discus at both the SEC league meet and at Regionals. In the shot put, she was second at Regionals as a sophomore and last year was second at the SECs.
“I was looking forward to this season because it was my last with a great team,” said Janee, named one of this year’s team captains. “My personal goal was to go to nationals because I had never been and I was just shy of the qualifier last year. As a team we wanted to win as many meets as possible. I thought we had a pretty strong shot at winning our SEC and region.”
She admits it took a little “push” from mom to take that first step onto the track.
“I first got interested in track because all of my siblings ran track or cross country,” she said. “I was not too thrilled about the idea at first because I wanted to focus on basketball, but my mom made me go and I ended up loving it. With a demanding practice and meet schedule, I love that we spend so much time together and are able to bond with everyone. I love the coaching staff because they push us to do our best and succeed.”
Unfortunately, her track season never left the starting blocks this year.
“This is something none of us have experienced before so it’s pretty crazy,” she says of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I spend my time playing games with my family or making friendship bracelets. I am not able to train with the team of course but I go on runs and workout with my sister which is nice.
“As much as I complain about school, it is very weird not waking up early and being in a classroom five out of seven days a week. It is also weird not seeing the people that I see every day from friends to teachers and coaches.”
Janee plans on taking school to the next level. She is deciding between Concordia and EMU and may even consider running track in college.
“Both schools are close to home so I wouldn’t have to live on campus which will save money and I liked both campuses and the people I talked to there,” she said. “I am not absolutely sure but I want to study something in sports medicine.”
Whatever happens in the future, Janee can look back at her four years at Skyline with pride.
“I am proud of everything that I was able to accomplish in sports and in the classroom, but I am most proud of being a part of such an amazing community that supports me no matter what,” she said.