Back in the day, I used to coach the distance boys, too. Our first indoor meet of the season was at Maine East. What I remembered most about the invite was that the facility was dark and dingy, and that the runners ran under overhangs on the straights. Well, the overhang was still there, but the yellowy light bulbs were replaced by bright LED lights, and the dusty ceiling was painted bright white. The brightness I felt when I walked in was not just from the renovations--I could feel a bright energy coming from our team, too.
Field Events: We started the meet off right with some strong performances in the throws. Naiomi is making huge progress as a thrower, and Trynity's mark of 8.21 earned her a medal and us our first team point of the day! Proud of you, Tryn! In the long jump, Destiny beat her previous best by half a foot--way to go! She also helped out our newest long jumper, Jayla. So proud of you for your courage in facing a new event, Jayla! You are going to continue to improve! Clara mirrored that bravery, giving the triple jump a try for the first time! She got into the sand, and she is starting to learn the rhythm of the event. Way to go, Clara! Finally, Sierra-Rayne competed in the high jump for the second time. I missed her jumps, but she excitedly showed me the video, proving that she is making progress in this event. More importantly, she was smiling and more confident today. That positive mindset is what is going to get her over the bar! The jumpers should get some valuable opportunities this week as the weather cooperates with us!
Track events: We started events on the track with the hurdles. I'm so proud of our hurdle crew! Tatiana took on the high hurdles. During her warm ups, she looked timid going over the first hurdle. When I talked with her, I reminded her that Coach Cuttill sees something special in her, and she needs to attack the hurdle like a BA! She smiled and nodded--I love this bee's mindset! She had a great run, clearing all of the hurdles! She found out some bad news post-race, though: The FAT (fully automatic timing) system did not record her race. Rather than panic, she used the second race as an opportunity to learn more. Proud of you, Tati!
Our 50 meter dash runners were next, and they looked fantastic! This was a great opportunity to work on block starts and attack a shorter event. Taylor looked fantastic, getting out well and earning a 4th place medal and earning our team 3 points. Taylor is emerging as our speedster, helping fill the void left by Aja's graduation from last year. Jada looked strong in this race, too. I know that as her knee heals up, she is going to make an impact in the shorter events for us, too!
Our 4X800 marked the start of the "regular" event line up. Natalie started us off strong, running a season PR by 2 seconds. She looked fantastic, fighting off other girls and really running like a senior. Honestly, I think Nat is ready for a lifetime PR in the next race. She recovered very fast, and she wanted to race again! Adri made her 2022 track debut as our second leg. She got out hard, showing off her wrestling fitness. Her form has improved tremendously, and it showed in her time: 3:16 (A HUGE LIFETIME PR). Proud of you, Adri! Liz was our third leg. She looked solid, but I know that she is ready to go faster, based on the workout she did this past week. She just needs to trust her growing fitness! Illy was our anchor. Sometimes the times matter, and sometimes it's the performance. Her time was actually an LPR by 2 seconds, but the fact that she was out there racing with her girls was what was most important. SO proud of your grit, Illy. :)
We had two bees in the 800. Aubri got out hard, keeping her aggressive racing streak going strong. She ran a smart race, challenging other girls and finishing with an awesome kick! Her race tactics earned her a nice season PR, only 3 seconds away from a lifetime! Proud of you, Aubri! Aniya has been getting stronger each week, running a strong race today, nearly matching her PR. Great work!
The 4X 1-lap relay (160 meters each) was next, and what fun it was to watch this crew! Raven started us out strong, moving us into a great position. Taylor looked just as speedy as her 50 dash, establishing us in the lead. Riley played no games on her leg, hugging the curves and looking impressive! Latavia was our anchor, bringing us home strong and helping us win our heat. Our time stood up to the fast heat, and this crew earned us 10 team points and themselves first place medals! Our team could not help but yell and smile after how bright our bees were shining in that race!
Our 400 runners took that energy from the relay and translated it into their own races. Destiny was up first. After a strong 400 debut last week, Destiny bested her performance by three seconds, earning a new LPR of 77 seconds. Way to go, Des! Before school today, Marisa came by my room and we talked about her 400. They said they had to get out harder, and get out harder, they did! Marisa's time was much improved--an SPR by nearly 3 seconds. Their performance earned them a 2nd place medal and 8 points for our team. Awesome work, Marisa! :)
The mile was up next, and I could not wait to see what Audrey and Lauren could do after then tore up a strength workout earlier in the week. Audrey got out strong with a Vernon Hills runner on her heels for two laps. After that, it was all Audrey. She looked so focused, hunting down people to lap and finishing strong. She earned a new lifetime PR by a few tenths. More importantly, she is WAY ahead of where she was at this point last year fitness-wise. I can't wait to see what she can do in this race with some competition! Lauren's race was equally impressive. She was seeded 7th based on her previous best time, but she did not settle. After sitting in 4th place for a lap or two, she made a decisive move to 3rd and never looked back. I was really happy to see how even her splits were--it shows her fitness for sure. She ended in 3rd with a new lifetime PR of 5:42. Way to be gritty, Lauren! This 1-3 punch earned us 16 team points. Way to go, bees!
Latavia and Jada were our representatives in the awkward open 200. Since the track is only 160, a 200 required a start on the straight and two curves. Latavia and Jada handled these obstacles like pros, though. Latavia looked awesome, earning a 2nd place medal and 8 points for our team. Jada is learning so much about indoor track--she looked great in her heat and was only 3 places away from a medal and points. More importantly, she is hungry to contribute. As she was waiting for her ride after the meet, we talked about how much she wants to keep growing. THAT is the mindset we want all season! Nice work, bees!
After the 200, it was time for the final race of the day: the 4X400. Our team was lined up to support, and Our runners did not disappoint. Marisa got us out strong with a 68 split--looking much like they did in the open 400: aggressive and confident. Riley took the baton in second place, but she was uninterested in maintaining that spot. She ATE the track, taking over first and never looking back. her 64 split was impressive! Lauren, without much rest after the mile, ran an awesome leg, keeping us in first! Audrey, in the same recovery boat as Lauren, ran a great leg, sealing the 1st place medals for this squad. Our team was so loud for each bee--screaming and encouraging them on! Our relay earned 10 points for the team total.
Overall, today's outcome was bright: We took 4th as a team by stepping up, performing hard for one another, and cheering hard for one another. The courage of people in our developing events makes me hopeful that we can start earning points in every event as we head to outdoor next month. Before I get ahead of myself, let's enjoy one last indoor competition at Carthage on Friday. This meet is the "biggest" we will attend indoors. Back in 2019--the last time we attended this meet--there were 44 teams. Whew! That kind of competition is exciting. It gives us a chance to challenge ourselves and see how our hard work and mindsets stack up. It also gives us a springboard to the outdoor season.
Goals for this week:
1. Let's enjoy the chance to work hard in some improved weather. We don't always get sunshine and temps like is predicted this week, so please seize the day! Please make sure you keep bringing layers, hats, and gloves. Even though the forecast might say 50, if the wind shifts, we can lose warmth quickly. Always bee prepared!
2. Let's support our teammates who have not yet had the thrill of competition. They are being very focused, and their time to shine outdoors is coming soon.
3. Let's take care of academics so that you can have a true break over spring break. Please talk with your event coach for details about spring break practices.
Other items you should know:
1. When we get to outdoor, the meets on Monday/Tuesday are open to everyone who has been practicing hard. The invites on Thursday/Friday/Saturday continue to be for the top two in each event.
2. The Team Gear Store closes on Sunday, March 13th. Don't forget to place your order before midnight! :)