A week ago, the coaches and I discussed loading up our line-up in order to see what we could do point-wise. For the previous three meets, we had given a lot of people opportunities while limiting events for our top competitors. Looking at the results from last year at Carthage, we built what we thought was a competitive line-up. Wisconsin runs a slightly different order of events than Illinois, flipping the 3200 to the end and the 1600 to the start. This schedule difference allowed us to maximize the points we could earn from our Distance Crew, and the ability to use three "wild cards" allowed us to stack some sprinters and throwers, too. We were excited to see what our team could do on a great track and against strong competition. Then on Friday night, Coach Anderson kept sending me updates about the boys' performances at Carthage. It was so exciting to hear about the guys stepping up! Through their collective efforts, they placed 3rd out of 21 teams. All evening, I kept thinking that we could do the same--come in the top three teams.
On the bus the next day, I was excited that we had teammates like Anesa, Aniya, Melanie, and Ashley who wanted to be there to support their teammates. I was equally excited to see what our bees could do! The coaches and I challenged the women to out-do the guys: "Let's get better than 3rd place!" Everyone seemed on board with that goal, and I could feel the unity as our group took the team lap. For the first time, we were together for the whole lap, looking powerful! I anxiously awaited the start of the meet, and our first performers set the stage for the day.
Huge Performances of the Day:
This week, our focus is going to be some hard work and some team building! With the warmer weather, please pack BOTH outdoor and indoor gear for each day this week. BEE PREPARED! Also, don't forget that the deadline to order gear is THURSDAY, 3/23. Don't wait until it's too late! Click here to order!
Friday @ Highland Park:
Snow and e-Learning cannot stop track & field! This was our first relay meet and our first Friday night event, and the Zee-Bees came out fighting hard!
Our shot put relay of Ne'Zyah, Ximena, and Audreynah set the standard for the night by winning the event with their combined effort. They were all right around their PRs, which is awesome news! They overcame the Pit of Despair (if you saw where they threw, you understand what I mean), which makes their win all the more impressive. Managing distractions--whether they are physical or mental--is the name of our game! Our other field events had obstacles to overcome, too: our high jumpers had to run around a post to get to the pit, and our triple/long jumpers had a tight runway with distractions on either side. Our jumpers are making good progress despite these obstacles, and I am proud of all of them!
On the track, our 4X800 answered the call of the shot put crew, with Audrey taking the lead from the start, and Brionne, Lauren, and Riley not looking back at the competition. Notably, Brionne set a new PR of 2:49, dropping 3 seconds from last week, despite being on a shorter, and well...goofier track #iykyk. Nice job, Bri! Congrats to the whole relay for a commanding effort! Our 4X160 relay won the heat, but they got nabbed by Deerfield (who gets to practice on that track) from the other heat. I was impressed by how Taylor, Jade, Jada, and Kennilyn managed the tight turns in such a speedy race! Finally, our 4X400 dominated the field from start to finish, and I'm digging this new line-up with Audrey and Riley setting the tone and Lauren and Bri finishing strong. To run 4:35 on this track is impressive! Nice work, bees!
There were a few gutsy performances that stood out to me tonight. First, I was really impressed by the way Tyesha attacked her half lap in the Sprint Medley, and the way Kia managed her nerves in her first race as a Zee-Bee! I was really happy with the way our hurdlers attacked a new format of racing. The shuttle can make people nervous, but Sierra-Rayne, Mary, Rachel, and Tati handled this format with grace and grit. Their form is getting better every week, too. Nice work, quad! I was also really happy with how gutsy Carmella raced in the Distance Medley in her racing debut. Nice work, Carmella! Freshie Abygail also had a great day today, leading the class relay. Not only was her split strong (75 on this track!), but she also competed hard (which is what matters most). Great job in your debut, Abygail! I was really impressed by the moves by our 4X1600 relay, too. I asked them all to make competitive moves in their races. Fia started it out by passing the Highland Park racer when the pack started to split. Rachel did a great job of surging and finishing strong. Liz was outstanding at accelerating on the home stretch, as was Chey. Impressive work from everyone!
Overall, I am really happy to see our progress as a team, and I am looking forward to Carthage. The coaches and I are loading that line up with Varsity athletes only. To those of you who have not had a chance to race yet, you will have your chance when we get to outdoor in April; stay patient and hungry!
This week, we have Spring Sports Parent Night on Thursday. If you are new to ZB Athletics, please come to the PAC with a parent or guardian by 6:30. If you are a returning athlete, please arrive by 6:45. We will try to get you home quickly! Thank you for planning ahead to bee there.
Finally, keep focused on the student part of your identity. Please remember that you represent ALL of us when you move around the building. Bee on time, be a leader in the classroom, and bee curious as you study. Let's have a great week!
Yes, it was an early morning for the bus, but that facility was worth it! Our bees took advantage of the 200 meter track and really stepped up. Here's what impressed me most:
Seniors stepping up. Katelin helped our horizontal jumpers get their marks, but she went beyond just the technical stuff. She reassured newbee Sofia that she was making progress, and she reassured Nyana after a rough jump in the triple. She also deployed senior Audrey to help our brand new high jumpers get their marks and learn the ropes of this new event. Riley made everyone's head turn with her assertive performance in the opening leg of the 4X800. Jade set the standard of competing with her crazy-fast 60 and 200 performances. And Estrella showed us what track is all about--beating your previous best. What a great way for our newbees to learn about this sport!
Growth. All three of our throwers threw PRs today. Both Ne'Zyah and Audreynah's are indoor PRs, and Ximena's is a lifetime PR. Congrats to all three of our throwers for their strong efforts today! In triple jump, Katelin set a huge indoor PR of 29' 1.25"--nearly besting her outdoor PR! She is WAY ahead of schedule, which is awesome to see. Nyana set her first PR in this event, and I know that she will continue to grow into it. She shows so much promise already with her willingness to try new events. Katelin set a huge LPR in the long jump--15'0.25"! So impressive, Kate! Way to step up! And in the high jump? Freshies Mary and Niyanna both cleared 4 feet for the first time despite not having jumped into a pit yet in practice (we will get our brand new pit in a couple of weeks!). These two, along with Baakir, bravely attacked this new event in order to grow!
On the track, we had several other signs of growth. Brionne ran her first 800 to help our relay place 4th and run a 10:20--only 3 seconds off our recent best outdoors from 2018. So proud of the way this group (Riley, Lauren, Bri, and Audrey) attacked this race! Rachel ran her first 3200 and looked awesome doing so. She ran a pretty even race (6:38/6:58), and she did so by competing hard. When the very experienced runners from Maine South and Palatine came up on her, she made them work, which helped her to really attack the second mile. Her time of 13:36 is impressive for her first go, and I anticipate that she will grow in this event! Our 60 meter hurdlers also slayed today. Baakir and Tati both ran lifetime PRs. Baakir handled hitting a hurdle by being gritty and switching legs, and Tati had such an aggressive start, not to mention a clean run. Proud of both of you! Jade, Hunter, and Jada ALL ran PRs in the 60 meter dash. Impressive work by this speedy crew! As they continue to work on block starts, I know they will continue to grow. I already mentioned Estrella's LPR in the 800, but I'd like to give her another shout out here. Not only did she set a new lifetime, she did it by running negative splits (last lap was the fastest). That tells me that she is ready to start out even harder, and that her new LPR will fall quickly! Our 200 hurdlers all earned LPRs because this is a brand new event. I'm so proud of how well Baakir, Rachel, and Tati ran. Not only did they each attack the race, but they also embraced a new distance. Baakir really turned on the power coming off the final curve so that she could finish in 13th place out of 36 racers! These three are fearless and fun to watch. Our 4X200 of Jade, Kennilyn, Jada, and Taylor looked awesome today. Despite some difficulties with a handoff that was not of their own making, they fought hard and looked great, running a speedy 1:57.29. Nice work, Bees! In the mile, newbee Juliana ran a new PR, beating her previous best from practice by nearly 45 seconds and reaching her goal of touching 7, finishing in 7:46. Nice work, freshie! She did so by pulling on Cheyenne and working hard in the last laps. Speaking of Chey--she broke her indoor PR, and nearly bested her outdoor PR, missing it by only one second. So proud of your growth, Cheyenne! Jade improved her 200 time, zooming to a new LPR of 27.01 and dropping over 2 seconds. She also managed to earn a medal despite not being in the fastest or even the second fastest heat. Great work, Jade! Niyanna and Auriel both set LPRs in this event, too. I know they are only going to grow as they get used to the race and improve their block starts. Proud of you, freshies!
Pride. Mr. Niemi wants to bring back the idea of ZB Pride, and I saw a lot of it on display today. Our team made me smile before our 4X400 even stepped on the track. During the second heat (we were in the fourth), our team lined up on a curve in order to support our squad. By the time Audrey stepped on the track, our bees had spread out across the whole track in order to yell like crazy. And our actual relay? Well Audrey took off like a shot, pushing to make it to the break line first and handing off in first. Lauren pushed hard on her leg, nearly matching her outdoor best from last year. Brionne zoomed to a new indoor PR of 68! And Riley got the baton with a gritty look and attacked the first lap in 29, hunting down other teams. Our relay finished SIX seconds faster than last week and looked outstanding. Proud of you all for such a ZB Pride moment to finish off the meet. So proud of our team for uniting to cheer them on, too!
The name of this meet is the Rockford Auburn Showcase, and showcase we did! Without stacking our line up, we placed 10 out of 22 teams in this very competitive field. You can check out all the stats for the meet here. Overall, us coaches saw A LOT of great performances that have left us excited for the upcoming meets! Let's use this week to keep growing as athletes and teammates. I have a good feeling that we can do something special as a team this year. Let's start laying the groundwork for that to happen: get to know your teammates; appreciate their efforts; encourage each other to push through the difficult moments; and let's have a great week!
Nutrition Tip of the Week: Did you know that vitamin D is made in our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunlight? In our part of the country, it is REALLY hard to get enough vitamin D in the winter. Improve your chances by getting in the sun whenever possible, even if it's a short walk around your block on the weekends. You can also get vitamin D from foods such as salmon, tuna, egg yolks, and foods fortified with vitamin D such as orange juice, millk, and cereals. You can read more about it in this article from Harvard.
Sleep Tip of the Week: Did you know that having a similar bedtime routine EVERY NIGHT (including weekends) helps you have better sleep? Our bodies love routines, so making a sleep routine is important. I know that you are all working hard in practice, but your body does a lot of repair work while you sleep. Miss out on a few hours of sleep? Then you miss out on the hormones that are released while you sleep that help make that workout stick. You can read more about the importance of sleep in this article.