Saturday, February 23, 2019 @ Wheeling Invite
We started our season strong with a 5th place team finish at the competitive Wheeling Invite. The teams that bested us--Wheeling, Lake Zurich, Warren, and Stevenson--all had medalists in the pole vault, 3200, and hurdles. This illustrates just how competitive we are and will continue to be if we lean in and decide that this is OUR season with ONE TEAM EFFORT. Click here to check out the full results.
The distance crew had a strong day. We started with our 4X800 placing 6th in a strong field. Kelsey was our lead runner. Like last year, she started comfortably fast, and made her moves in the middle laps. She ran a strong 2:35 which is impressive considering how little speed we have been able to do. She handed off to Mary who had an aggressive start despite recovering from illness. Her 2:58 split was right where I hoped she would be, and I'm excited to have her conditioning this early in the season; in years past, she was not able to help us until later in the indoor/beginning of outdoor season due to swimming commitments. I know that Mary will continue to sharpen her racing and look forward to seeing her work toward her season goals. She handed off to Carmenita who got out hot and focused. Due to the weird laps, I did not get 400 splits, but Carm definitely ran hard in her first 400. The key to improving her overall time is to get that second half stronger, which I know she will do! She ran a solid 3:09 before handing off to our anchor, Kaila. In her first high school track race, she looked confident and experienced throughout. Unfortunately, I wasn't loud enough when I told Kaila she was on her last lap, so she still had a little saved in the tank. That being said, Kaila still ran a strong 3:04; I know she can break 3 easily in the next race. Overall, we beat my estimated time by seven seconds, and this quad set a positive tone for track events. Proud of this group!
Our next racers were in the open 800. Elyssa and Angie were in the same heat, and they had great energy with each other during the race. They traded leads from each other in order to push the pace. Elyssa pulled ahead in the latter part of the race, revealing the strength she gained during the XC season. Her kick was strong, and she was rewarded with a season best of 3:10. Angie was not far behind, and she exhibited race-awareness and grit as she fended off a surging competitor in the final steps of the race in a thrilling finish. Angie ran a solid 3:17 and will continue to improve with that impressive mindset! Overall, these two represented us and themselves very well in this race!
Our final distance race of the day was the mile; like their teammates, Karen and Di competed well and fed off each other to race well. The started close to each other, but after 500, Karen started pulling ahead. Karen used her competition to stay sharp, and she earned a huge SPR, finishing in 6:47. When Karen came up on Di, Di responded strongly with a surge. She kept fighting the runners around her, and she also finished with a strong SPR of 7:36. She also exhibited great flexibility when I sprang the racing opportunity on her prior to the bus ride; instead of being intimidated, Di seized the chance to race. I love that mindset!
Overall, I am thoroughly excited about this meet, and I cannot wait for Highland Park! In the meantime, let's be intentional about sleep, nutrition, and practice so we can continue growing as athletes.
This week, I challenge you to sit someplace new in Strickland's room and introduce yourself to sprinters and throwers. Let's make our team bond unbreakable!
FYI--There are a lot of great races going on for the pros right now. Check out this newsletter that highlights races you may have missed! Click here to be a student of your sport.