Early Saturday morning, we climbed on the bus to head to our first indoor meet of the season. The Wheeling Invite is a great season opener, despite the fact that it is the second or third meet for most of the teams in attendance; the competition is strong in every heat, and the format allows us to knock the racing rust off.
Our first competitors were Jenna and Audrey in the high jump. Despite not being able to practice yet this season, Jenna put together a great jump in order to clear the bar for the first time in competition! She had plenty of daylight over 3'10", so I know she will be able to continue progressing into 4-foot territory very soon. Audrey, after just one practice to get her steps, also had a successful outing, clearing 4'4" with ease and getting some valuable practice and feedback. Like Jenna, she cleared the height easily, so she should be able to make progress in the coming meets.
Our 4X800 was the first running event for the D-Crew, and they started things right. Kelsey ran a smart race, letting the leaders go for a lap and then reeling them in during the ensuing laps. Her splits were very even, and I liked the mental strength and patience she displayed. She earned the fastest split of the relay--2:36! Audrey was our second runner in the relay. She took off aggressively and worked to move us up in the race. I was happy to see that strong start and even splits despite the fact that we have not done a ton of quality speed. Nice work with a strong split of 2:38, Audrey! Natalie was our third leg, and she took off looking focused. Her form was fantastic, and her splits were relatively even. Her LPR last year was 2:51(outdoor in May), and she ran a close 2:54 today--great progress! Maya was our anchor, running a smart race and pulling on the teams ahead of us. Her form was fabulous (as usual), and her time of 2:38+ was impressive. She helped secure our 4th place finish overall, with a speedy time of 10:46. I was happy to see the relay exceed my estimated time of 10:59. Times aside, I was simply happy to see this crew race hard and with the same fun as the fall. Let's keep that energy up!
I did not enter anyone in the 3200 (21+ laps is just mean), so we did not have another distance race until the open 800. Kelly and Marisa were in the same heat. When the gun sounded, our two racers got out well. Marisa sat between two Schaumburg girls for a lap and a half before taking over the race. I loved the strength of of the move--it showed her confidence in her own abilities and her willingness to take a risk by leading. The move was wise--with each lap, her gap increased, and she won her heat with a large margin, finishing in a speedy 2:47 (a new LPR). I am so excited to see what Marisa can do this season in this event! Kelly also looked fabulous in the 800, her first high school track race. She got out strong (which is awesome), but her splits reveal that she needs some strength work in her latter laps (32, 32, 34, 36, 39). In this part of the season, this pattern is pretty normal. Our workouts will start addressing second-half fatigue. In the meantime, her actual racing was great, working with a pack, and then passing people when possible. Kelly put on a late burst of speed to hold off another hard-kicking athlete; it is this gutsiness to finish that cannot be taught, and I am glad Kelly fought so hard to the tape. Her race earned her a 3:03, beating my guesstimate of 3:05. I am proud of both of these women!
The 1600 was also a fun race to watch because Karen and Julien came to compete. After the first lap, these two were racing together and NOT complacent. Karen led the duo first, and then Julien took over the lead. I lost track of how many times the two switched leading responsibilities, which is awesome; it means that they won't back down, and it means that they want to push each other to succeed. The mental toughness I saw in these two makes me excited to see them race again! In the final lap, Karen's experience showed through, and she finished in a season best of 6:43. Julien's speed served her well in her kick, and she finished in a best of 6:47. Both of these women ran smart, gutsy races, and their times show it. I know both of them will drop time as the season moves forward. :)
Due to a band trip, Maya was the first leg of the 4X400, and notably, Natalie was more than ready to step in if Maya had to leave before the race. Luckily, the timing gods were on our side, and Maya was able to race. She ran an impressive lead leg of 67, with newbee Raven running an awesome 69+ as second leg. I loved watching her compete, and I think we have her hooked on track! Aja was our strong 3rd leg, looking fantastic in 68, and Kaylah with an H just ATE as anchor. She brought our relay home with a speedy split of 65. She did it by working to shrink the gap with every step. That kind of mindset will help our relay do great things this season! Overall, the women ran an impressive 4:31--a sweet time to pop this early in the season. I know this relay will be clutch as we move forward.
Overall, we had a great day of competing, and this coach is excited to see where we go from here! Shout outs to Crizaber and Jenna for their expert timing skills, as well as to Angie, Jenni, Andrew F., and NayNay for driving down to Wheeling to support our bees. Finally, props to Delilah for supporting her girls as an alternate; that is a tricky role, and she selflessly cheered on her teammates on the backstretch all meet.
If anyone has any good pics, please send them to me--I tapped out after the high jump. ;)
Let's have a great week of practice! In order to do so, I need the following:
1. A recommitted effort to have 2020 vision...in the classroom (STUDENT-athlete), in the halls, at practice, and in life! #elitefocus
2. A commitment to at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
3. A pledge to wash hands thoroughly throughout the day.