Kendyl Cardwell does whatever it takes to succeed. The Montverde Academy eighth-grader will go on long runs by herself and she’ll get a group of her teammates to run with her.

All that work is certainly paying off for Cardwell.

On Saturday, the young runner posted a personal best time of 18:51 to win the National Training Center Cross Country Invitational and lead Montverde Academy to the team title.

Cardwell, who bested 93 competitors to win Saturday, is the Daily Commercial’s Athlete of the Week for her efforts.

“She’s one of the most coachable kids I’ve ever had,” Montverde coach Lori Treweek said. “She’s an excellent student, she’s very motivated and she’s very team-oriented. She really motivates her teammates and she’s been a natural leader.”

Cardwell, who went to the state championships last season as a seventh-grader, is ranked fifth in the state in Class 2A and 12th in the state in all classifications. She hasn’t lost a meet this year and she just keeps getting better and better.

“She has huge potential,” Treweek said. “She ran a personal best last week and then beat that this week.”

Cardwell may be young, but she fits right in with her Montverde teammates in that regard. Also on the team are three seventh-graders, two ninth-graders and a 10th-grader.

With Cardwell leading the way, the Eagles swept the top three spots Saturday as seventh-grader Lily Henne placed second (20:00) and 10th-grader Nicole Meers finishing third (20:21).

Umatilla senior Jennifer Jenkins placed fifth in the event (21:06).

Any coach wishing to nominate an athlete for the Daily Commercial’s Athlete of the Week can call 352-365-8204 on Saturday or Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. or email Sports Editor Paul Jenkins at paul.jenkins@dailycommercial.com.