We arrived early--early-early--due to bus driver shortages. And while I knew getting there early would be better for all the field event peeps as well as the 4X800, I still worried that it would be annoying to arrive before anyone else. Thankfully, Thornton was already there when we arrived. lol. As we sat at our camp, Coach Cuttill and I talked, but we also listened. We heard you look up your heats and discuss the competition. We heard you talk about spikes and tape and the smell of chlorine--NOT BLEACH. We heard you laugh and tease and chill. That kind of easiness and downtime among teammates is important. The in-between times are what help build strong teams, and I was glad that we were able to have that moment together; it was a good start to a great day.
Our field event crew looked strong today. Trinity H. looked fantastic in her competition debut. I am confident that she is going to be an important staple among our throwers. Her smile after her throws, and her intense studying of the competition tells me that she found the right spring sport! Trynity D. matched her lifetime PR, and immediately knew what to fix to make that PR even better for the next meet. Proud of you, Tryn! Naomi also threw a lifetime PR and was only a half inch behind Tryn. What I love about this group is the positive energy they provide one another. Watching them celebrate each other at practice and at meets is GIVING! These three are only a few adjustments away from scoring at bigger meets like this. I know Coach Strickland will help them get there. Way to go, bees! Check out the men's shot put at the World Indoor Championships. (I could not find video of the women...that's a blog post for another day...)
In the jumps, we were missing a few people due to vacations, but our core is improving. I watched Destiny ATTACK the runway in the long jump; she has come SO far compared to her timid run at Wheeling only a few weeks back. Once she gets that speed and the technique working together, I know she is going to make big improvements. Proud of you for taking risks, Destiny! After a sore week, Jayla looked GREAT in the long jump. She was proud that she made it in the sand AND got marks for all three jumps! She jumped a PR, too--she is now into the double digits with a mark of 10 feet, 9 inches. Way to go, Jayla! She was all smiles after her jumps, so she just needs to keep that positive momentum coming! Tatianna was our sole triple jumper today. Although she did not get a mark, she did start to learn the technique. This kid is such a courageous athlete. Last week, she braved the high hurdles, and this week, she tried the triple for the first time. I love her courage to learn new events and potentially help our team. Proud of your courage, Tati! Check out the women's long jump at the World Indoor Championships. And the triple jump! World Record by Rojas!
While these field events were rolling, the track events were underway as well. Our 4X800 relay started off strong, beating my prediction time by 2 seconds. Nice work, squad! Marisa was our lead leg on purpose. We are working on getting her to be more aggressive at the start of her 800, and leading off is a great way to make that happen. Marisa rose to the occasion, splitting a 2:45-- a season PR! They looked much more confident this week with this event, and I know that they will continue to make big gains! Marisa handed off to Natalie, who ran a strong leg for us, matching her 2:54 from last week. Unfortunately, our heat did not have a lot of competition to push Nat in the second leg. I am confident that when we head outdoors, Nat will have the breakthrough she has been looking for. In the meantime, she ran a great leg for us in the relay, and she handed off to Sofia in a great spot! Sofia took off hard and looked so strong today! She ran a pretty even race, and that paid off in a new PR of 2:51! Sofia is the PR queen, slashing time every time she races. Dropping 4 seconds in an 800 is quite an accomplishment--way to go, Fia! She handed off the baton to Adri in good position, and Adri took that energy and fueled her own PR. Last week at Maine East, she ran a great 800 leg in the relay, but she struggled with a pretty severe track cough after. It took her some time to recover, but she looked fantastic this week, dropping SEVEN seconds from her previous PR. Whew! As she gets more race fit, I look forward to watching her peel off more time. Way to go, Adri! Overall, this group did everything I hoped for--they worked hard for each other, they took risks, and they raced hard. Nice work! Check out the World Championships 800 race here! Ajee Wilson played no games--she made one assertive move and never looked back!
Our brave hurdlers looked great again this week. Both Treazure and Baakir cleared all the barriers without incident, and they did it speedier than last week. Both women earned new lifetime PRs! Treazure ran a quick 11.24, placing her 21st out of 34 racers. She just keeps improving, and I cannot wait to see what she can do when we shift to outdoors. Baakir also ran a PR of 12.1, only a few places behind her senior. Hurdles are no joke, and I'm proud of these two for working on their craft and bravely attacking the races each week. They now have the luxury of two weeks to work on technique before our first outdoor race. Check out Gabby Cunningham showing her grit by pulling off a bronze medal this past weekend at the World Championships. While you are at it, you have to see the best at indoor hurdles: Grant Holloway.
Our 55 dash speedsters looked great today, too. Taylor keeps getting better each week, looking great out of the blocks. She ran a new PR of 8.04, placing 21st out of over 50 racers. Way to go, Tay! Raven was only a few clicks behind Taylor, running a PR of 8.16! That's what we are looking for: continued growth from race to race. These two are embodying the motto for the season: Start Strong; Finish Stronger! Way to go, bees! Check out the 60 meter dash at the World Championships. And here is the men! Watch how Jacobs keeps his upper body (including his face) relaxed.
Yes, the mile was next. The line-up for Wisconsin meets puts the mile as the early distance event and the 2-mile toward the end. They also put the fastest heat first, so Audrey was our first racer. Prior to her race, we talked about possible strategies: either sit on the first place seed from Libertyville and see how the race unfolded (Audge was seeded 2nd), or take the lead from the start and push the pace. Then we saw that Bree from Libertyville was running the 4X800, and that told us what we needed to know--that she would not be fresh for the mile. When the gun sounded, Audrey took off aggressively, running a 34 for her first 200 meters. Whew! When she came through the 400 at 73, I knew she was going to run a PR, but I didn't know by how much. After running a 2:34 and holding on for her 3rd 400 with an 80, I was losing my mind! She closed strong and ran a new lifetime PR of 5:15.6--a HUGE accomplishment. This is definitely an indoor record for ZB women, and she is only 3 seconds away from stealing the outdoor record. She dropped a crazy 7 seconds over her impressive race last week at Maine East, and she did it by herself. To run this fast this early in the season says a lot about how Audrey spent her winter as well as the confidence she has hung onto since XC. I'm really proud of your growth, Audrey! Her effort earned us 10 team points, too! Cheyenne also ran the mile, and she was not to be left behind PR-wise. At Wheeling, Cheyenne ran her first ever indoor mile on that tiny track; she ran a big PR (compared to XC time trials) of 8:02. In practice, I have seen how much she has grown over the last several weeks, so entered her with a time of 7:45, assuming that she could run that time. She outdid that aggressive prediction by 3 seconds, running a new lifetime PR of 7:42! I loved that she went out aggressively; if she keeps doing that, eventually she will be able to hang on. In the meantime, I need to give her a shout out for such growth since XC. She really seems to get running now, and I cannot wait to see how much stronger she gets this season! Contrats to both of these women for their PRs!
Our next racers were the women of the 4X200. This group keeps improving; this week they dropped over 2 seconds compared to Rockford! Raven led us off with a speedy 28+ split, looking great! She handed off to Taylor who had a strong leg, helping us move up a place. Riley took the handoff and helped ensure that we would win our heat, giving Latavia the baton after a speedy leg of 28+. Latavia brought us home strong, and the relay took first in our heat. This collective effort helped us to sneak into scoring position, even though we were in the 4th heat. I'm really proud of this foursome; they placed 7th from the 4th of 5 heats (remember--the fastest heat was first!). 7th place earned us 2 team points. Way to fight hard for each other, bees!
We had the chance to use one of our wildcards in the 400, so we had 3 competitors: Sofia, Destiny, and Aniya C. Destiny and Sofia were in the same heat. Even though they both had already competed in other events earlier in the meet, they both brought the heat in their races. Having each other to pull on this freshie duo worked hard in the race: Destiny got out hard, running her first 200 in 34 seconds; Sofia was just behind her in 35. Three weeks ago, there is no way that these two would have the fitness to go out so hard! They came back strong, finishing with great form and looking confident. Sofia finished in a PR of 74, while Destiny was only a step behind in 75. Both of these bees earned PRs since they previously had matching PRs of 77. Way to go, freshies! Aniya was in a separate heat, and she improved greatly, too! She overcame some pre-race anxiety and ran a 4 second PR, to finish in a speedy 82. This freshman group is making big strides already--they are the future of our team! Keep it up, bees! Check out Miller-Uibo absolutely destroy in the 400.
The 800 was next, and Riley was seeded second in the hot heat. Based on recent workouts, I knew she was ready to drop some time in this race, but I had no idea how much. She go out well, using the other girls to help her through the first two laps. She ran great splits: 35/38 for the first 400. She started to move up in the 3rd lap, and then she made a decisive move in the last lap, pulling ahead of her competitors. She finished with that Riley kick we know and love, looking tall and strong through the line. Her previous best was 2:37 (in her 800 debut), and she dropped a crazy 7 seconds. More importantly than the time, it looks like she is figuring out what it takes to make waves in this race. Right after the race, she looked at me and said, "I think I blacked out!" When I replied that the 800 is real woman's race, she nodded her head in agreement. Like Audrey, Riley earned us 10 points with that performance, and she earned a t-shirt, too! So proud of your grit in that race, Ri-bread! Natalie was in a separate heat, and she had big expectations for herself. Her heat was particularly dense, in that it never spread out. She was jostled around quite a bit despite her best efforts, but she kept fighting to get back into the mix. Her time was a second faster than her relay split. Although she was hoping to go sub 2:50, this is the first time Nat has run two races this solid in the same meet. She also earned a season PR! It shows her strength she has gained this year. I know she will hit her goal outdoors! In the meantime, great job to both of our 800 runners.
We used our other wildcard in the 200, so we had 3 entries: Latavia, Taylor, and Jada. Our freshie earned a new PR today, shaving off 1/3 of a second compared to last week. Nice work, Jada! Taylor earned a fresh PR, too. She dipped under the 30 second mark for the first time this season--awesome work, Tay! And finally, Latavia was the leader of the trio, taking 19th place out of 59 finishers. It was close to her season PR, but more importantly, she had the new trademark look of focus on her face. What a story of growth from freshman year! I can't wait to see her race outdoors! These three looked sharp in the 200--great work, bees.
I haven't had anyone run the 3200 yet because running two miles indoors is tough, especially on small tracks. Illyana and Aubrianna have been looking REALLY good in practice, though, so I felt like they were ready. Illy was definitely battling some anxious nerves before the race, but Aubri helped her manage that like a pro. On the line, these two got out well, with Aubrianna establishing the lead for the first four laps. She helped Illy have the confidence to make a move after the first half mile. I loved the gutsiness of this move. The second half of the 3200 is a gut check, and both of our bees fought hard despite being in tough spots in the race. I'm proud of the grit of these two--this race is no joke indoors, and they represented us well. Great work, seniors! Check out the 3000 at the World Indoor Championships!
The last race of the day was the 4X400. Our line up order was a bit different this week: Audrey to Riley to Marisa to Sofia. These four raced hard for each other. Audrey got out hard with a 62+ split. A great day's work! Riley had busy day, and she showed her strength by splitting a 63+ after a 4X200 and winning the 800! She handed off to Marisa who is finding her rhythm with this race, splitting a 67. Sofia was our anchor, and after running two other races with PRs in each, she went for the trifecta, earning a new new PR of 74! Overall, our time put us in 5th place in a very competitive race, earning 4 points for our team. I'm really impressed with the way these four attacked the race--great teamwork! Check out the 4X400 from the Indoor Championships!
Overall, we placed 9th out of 18 teams. Some of these teams are really well-rounded for this early in the season. I am confident that we are going to grow into that status as the season continues. In the meantime, I am proud of the energy of this team. It's so much fun to hang out with supportive, positive people! Let's use the next two weeks to get in that work so that we are ready for outdoor. Study your events--see how the pros and other high schoolers handle their business.
And let's work on the mental game, too. I heard so many of you talk about anxiety at this meet. That is TOTALLY NORMAL. It means that you care about your performance! It also means that you are having a tough time dealing with competition/the last 2 years of uncertainty and stress. The great news is that you have chosen to be an athlete. Exercise is a great way to help manage anxiety. The problem is when the anxiety takes over your brain, and you get stuck while trying to perform. I am no doctor, but I know that The Anxiety Disorder Association of American offers some great suggestions to manage anxiety. You can also check out the infographic below to help consider the myths vs. the realities of anxiety.