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Wheeling Park High School’s Ihlenfeld Stays on Fast Track

By JOSELYN KING

Staff Writer

WHEELING– Wheeling Park High School student Sarah Ihlenfeld sprints her way around the school’s track, quickly absorbs math and science, then runs on to volunteer at Wheeling Hospital.

Along the way she may slow down to play cello, or captain the school’s debate team.

“I truly do enjoy all these things I do,” she said. “I’m a busy person. I like things to keep me busy. These are things I do know will help me in the future. If it’s fun, why not do them?”

Ihlenfeld returns to Wheeling Park this fall as a senior with a 5.0 grade point average. She is the daughter of former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia William Ihlenfeld and Woodsdale Elementary School teacher Becket Ihlenfeld.

She will be vice president of the senior class, and has been involved in student government during her time at Wheeling Park.

Ihlenfeld is a member of the school’s soccer, track and cross country teams, and has competed in the West Virginia state track championships each of the past two years.

She is also a member of the debate team, the Park Players and the Key Club. She does crew work during musicals and plays.

She participated in Math Field Day at Wheeling Park, and in the Moody’s Math Challenge.

Ihlenfeld volunteers at Wheeling Hospital, and tutors other students in math and science before school starts each day. She also works with first-grade students at Woodsdale Elementary School, assisting them with math and spelling work.

She is a volunteer with Relay for Life, and a member of the entertainment committee.

Her resume also lists being a freshman mentor, as well as a member of the Junior Engineering Technical Society team, the National Honor Society and the Drug Free Clubs of America. She also will attend the the Governor’s Honors Academy this summer.

The math wizard hopes to major in engineering, although she hasn’t yet decided on which field of engineering to focus.

Ihlenfeld acknowledges it’s less common for females to have an interest in math and science, and even less common for them to excel in those fields.

“In most of my math and science classes, there are more girls than boys, and I’d love to see that spread,” she said. “Wheeling Park is probably an exception.”

Ihlenfeld also isn’t certain yet where she will attend college.

“I’m trying to keep my mind open to all schools,” she said. “There are excellent engineering schools on the West Coast, and on the East Coast. Obviously, there are benefits to going anywhere. I’m going to keep my options open.”

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