There was a lot to be excited about this Saturday. It started with everyone coming on time for such an early bus, it continued with our team lap, it was underscored by impressive performances, and it featured unconditional support all day long. The energy this team shares is awesome to say the least! Let's get into some specifics:
Courage in new events:
First shout out goes to our jumps crew. Weather has prevented them from being able to get into the pits yet, so they have been trusting Coach White and more importantly, themselves. Sierra-Rayne did an awesome job in her debut at the high jump. All her ZB fans said she is already SO close to getting the technique right. We can't wait to see what another week of training will help her accomplish! Our two long jumpers did outstanding today; both Destiny and Katelin got in the pit. Katelin made progress with each jump, finishing with a great mark of 12'8"! Impressive work after not having jumped since sixth grade. More importantly, the way Kate's face lit up after feeling that success was priceless!
Our 4X800 featured Riley & Lauren making their high school relay debut, both helping the relay shine with their speedy legs of 2:37 and 2:43 respectively. The 800 is no joke, and these two took the responsibility of the baton seriously. Proud of you both!
Shout out to Treazure, Tatianna, and Aysia for their courage in the hurdles. It was so cool to watch each of these women clear all the hurdles and look good doing so. Our cheering crew erupted as they watched our bees shine! We will keep cheering as they keep trusting the process this season!
Naiomi made her debut in the shot put today, and she really seized the opportunity. According to Coach Strickland, she is learning quickly, and she proved it at the meet. She threw a new PR of 8.27 meters. Awesome work, Naiomi!
Destiny made her first appearance as a 400 runner today. She ran a courageous race, looking gritty the whole way. With a few more weeks of conditioning, she is going to be able to close that race the way she started it. That being said, an 80 is still a strong first effort. We are proud of you, Destiny!
Marissa W. is a newcomer to the high school 200, and she had a great first race today. Her form looked great, and she is going to continue to grow into this race as she gains more training.
Finally, Aniya B. made her mile debut today, earning a big PR of 9:20. She has been running time trials since during XC, but today she ran her fastest mile ever. She did a great job of running a pretty even race and kicking hard for the last 200. Great work, Aniya!
Moments that Stood Out:
I know I already talked about the 4X800 briefly, but it deserves some more discussion. Audrey started us out ON FIRE. She took the lead decisively (running a 68 for her first 400), and she never looked back, running an impressive 2:26 by herself. She handed off to Marisa who is a veteran of the 800. Although they were nervous pre-race, their performance proves that they set those doubts aside once they grabbed the baton. Marisa fought hard with the lead pack, showcasing their knowledge of this race. To say Marisa's race was scrappy is an understatement! They handed off to Lauren who also ran a gutsy race, and even took a second to smile as I snapped pictures. Jenna would be proud! Lauren got out hard, shrinking the gap between us and 3rd place. Finally, Riley closed our relay with guts. I like that she went out hard (first 200 was 35!), seemingly fearless of the race. She managed a strong kick, too, finishing in 2:37. Overall, our relay ran an impressive time of 10:33 and finished in 4th place out of 21 teams. Way to go, bees!
Taylor and Raven's 60 meter dash races really impressive. Taylor stayed poised after a false start in her heat and ran a great time, ranking her 30th out of 80 racers. What a great way to start off her career as a ZB! Raven also looked fantastic in her heat, and I am pleased to report that her knee was feeling good, too. Awesome work, bees!
Shout out to two XC runners in the open 800--Natalie and Sofia. They were in the same heat, and they both ran strong races. After a week of being sick, Natalie got out like a senior, establishing herself in the crowded pack, and creating some space for her race. She battled hard, really impressing me with her gutsiness! I knew that her evolution during XC would pay off this spring, but I was pleasantly surprised to see it happening so soon! It was cool to watch her embrace her strength. Sofia also battled sickness this week, but you'd never know by her race. She ran a very even race, and she had a strong finishing lap. Her smart race earned her a 4 second PR from her debut last week. So proud of your growth, Sofia! She is definitely one to watch at this distance!
Our 4X200 showed promise today, running faster than our relay ever did all last season! Raven, Hunter, Aniya, and Latavia worked well together, running 2:00! Raven started us off with a speedy split of 28, followed by Taylor's strong 30. Aniya C. pushed hard to earn a 32 second split, and Latavia brought it home with a strong 30. It was exciting to see this relay perform so well! Proud of you, bees!
Speaking of Latavia, let's talk about her performance in the open 200. I cannot help but think back to her freshman year, specifically at Highland Park's indoor meet. She was terrified to compete because she lacked track confidence. What a difference in watching her today! As she came around the second turn, our camp went wild, feeding off Latavia's intensity and focus. We watched her fight through the tape, not willing to cede the heat win to anyone. I love that fight, and I look forward to watching her continue to improve in this event. Keep it up, senior!
Finally, I HAVE to talk about our 4X400--what a thrill to watch these four embrace the challenge I posed them: to race the clock and scare some people! From the 2nd heat of 4, our bees placed 4th place, beating our entire heat, the entire 3rd heat, and half the hot heat. Whew! They were only one place away from a medal, but more importantly, they embraced this thrilling race from gun to tape! Audrey started us off like she was shot out of a cannon, establishing an early lead with her speedy split of 64. She handed off to Riley who matched Audrey's intensity and speed, looking great on the curves! Lauren took off hard, helping maintain our incredible lead. And Marisa's experience finished us strong, running hard from the handoff to the tape. Our time of 4:27 is fantastic for this time of year. I'm proud of this group for going after a difficult goal since we did not have any competition in our heat. I am equally impressed by the energy of our team on that final curve--you helped these four push when they were tired. The giving culture I have witnessed so far is how we will be able to continue to grow this season. Let's keep empowering each other through positivity.
We ended up 12 out of 25 teams today. How do we score as a team? The scoring depends on the size of the meet. Since there were so many teams at Rockford Auburn, the top 8 finishers in each event earned team points: 1st earns 10, 2nd earns 8, 3rd earns 6, 4th earns 5, 5th earned 4, 6th earned 3, 7th earned 2, and 8th earned 1. All the event points get added up to create team scores. When we get outdoors and have dual meets on Mondays, only the top 3 score points. Your job is to try to earn personal improvements in order to help contribute to team points! Want to learn more about scoring and ranking? You can check out all the results from this meet (and all the meets this season) on athletic.net. This website is a cool resource! While our team place is impressive, I am more pleased with the risks people are taking in order to grow. In the words of our seniors, Start STRONG, Finish STRONGER!
Things you should know for the upcoming week: