Giant relays @ Highland Park
Friday Night Relays
Friday's races left me ecstatic. Not only did we have great effort across the board, but we are starting to come together as a team. Not a bad combo for a Friday night.
We started the evening strong with Jenna taking a risk in the high jump. Although she did not clear the opening height, her enthusiasm for trying this event without much prep due to our lack of indoor space continues to amaze me. That selflessness and courage is what makes teams great! I look forward to seeing her jump at Carthage! Jenna was our anchor in the Mid-Distance Medley, running an awkward distance of 640 as the anchor of the relay. The time didn't mean much because of the weird distance, but her performance was strong.
Our 4X800 Looked solid today. Kaila started us with a strong leg, breaking 3:00 for the first time this season. Her first 400 was aggressive (82), and she closed in a 95. More importantly, she looked competitive the whole way, and she finished in 2:57. She handed off to Elyssa who ran 3:09 (89/1:40). Elyssa looked really tuned in for the first 400 and last lap, but she seemed distracted for two laps. Post race, she explained that she was not in the right headspace; interestingly, that says a lot about her fitness that she was on-par with her performance at Wheeling. I know that she learned an important lesson about mindset, and I look forward to seeing her race again soon. Delilah was our third leg in her track racing debut! Unfortunately, I was distracted by a parent and did not get her 400 splits, but she ran a strong 3:19 for her first race ever. I know that she will cut time as the season progresses, and I'm impressed with her performance considering how sick she was on Saturday morning. Ashley was our final leg. Her split of 3:39 was solid for this time of year, and her splits (99/2:00) underscore what she said post race: that like Elyssa, her mind was not in the right spot. That being said, she looked smooth and she had a nice kick at the end. On Saturday morning, she had a great long run, keeping up with Elyssa's pack and feeling strong. That kind of comeback is what I love--not satisfied with her performance the day before, she stepped up to work hard the next day! Overall, this group was honest and hard-working, and I could not ask for more.
Carmen was the senior leg of the Class 4X400. Latavia was our freshie rep, and ran a speedy 79 on the tight turns. Julien was second in 81. Jada was our junior in 78, and Carmenita matched Jada with a 78 as well. More importantly, as the veteran, Carmen was a calming influence for this group. Nice work, Carmen!
The Distance Medley was up next, and all four looked speedy. Angie started us strong, running three laps in 1:38, coming through the 400 in 80. She was aggressive and handed off to Aubrianna in good position. Our little freshie looked focused and aggressive, finishing in a strong 3:12 for the 800. She looked great earlier in the week in our workout, so I was excited to see that translate to a race. Nice work, Aubrianna! She handed off to Di who had to run the other awkward distance...not quite a 1200 (1120). She had a solid 3:44 for the half and finished in 5:17. More importantly, she used the competition around her to pull throughout the race. She handed off to Jayla who got out hard, running a 90 for her first 400. With a 400 to go, I could see that she was ready to hit an LPR. Post-race, she admitted that she had zoned out a bit, but hearing the time helped her snap back into the moment. She finished with a speedy lifetime of 7:08, and I know she will be able to drop into the sixes shortly. Proud of the grit from this whole group!
I stacked our 4X1600 relay, and they did not disappoint. Kelsey, despite battling back pain, decided to get one last race before her surgery. I'm really glad she made that choice because her opening leg was fun to watch. She got out smart, letting the competition go for a lap, then working back to them methodically. She opened with an 89, came through the half in 2:51, the 1200 in 4:19, and finished in 5:42. This time was significantly faster than her only other timed mile of the season, an outdoor mile back when there was not as much snow on the track about a month ago. More important than the speedy time, the race was just fun. She systematically picked off competitors with a quiet confidence and handed off the baton in first place. This patience will serve her well as she works to rehab post-surgery. Vic was our second leg, and she looked sharp in her first race of the season, after having missed Wheeling due to illness. Her splits (90, 3:09, 4:53, 6:31) were solid for this time of year. Her racing was what definitely stood out; she used the other competitors to help her push herself to a season PR. Mary was our third leg, and she ran a strong season PR of 6:36 by running splits very similar to Vic's: 88, 3:08, 4:54. Also like Vic, she worked hard to push as competitors came by, and she looked sharp in her kick. Karen was our final leg for the relay. She ran pretty even (96, 3:21, 5:11, 6:56) and held on to earn our relay a 4th place finish. She was a few seconds off her season PR, and I know she will look stronger as she moves to the 3200 at Carthage. Overall, this group was fun to watch because all four looked focused and competitive for their races. Nice work, women!
The final race of the day was the 4X400. While the times were fun, what I enjoyed more was the line of teammate chanting each woman's name. That kind of camaraderie and positive support is what makes good teams great. Aja, Cierra, Maya and Kaylah's performances are the proof! Aja started us strong with a 68. She handed off to Cierra who ran a beautiful 69. Maya looked amazing in her race debut, finishing in a high 67. She handed off to our anchor, Kaylay, who finished with a high 68. Overall, their efforts landed them in 4th, beating teams in the fast heat. I can't wait to see this group run next week at Carthage!
As I drove home, I could not help but think ahead as I contemplated the meet. We have throwers who are improving weekly. The D-Crew keeps showing growth. The sprinters are stronger than they have been in years. Our long and triple jumpers are showing positive gains. People are stepping up to try the high jump. People not racing are lending their voices and energy to support their sisters on the track. Last year, I was optimistic but concerned about the vibe of the team overall. This year, the energy is positive, so I can't help but be excited about Carthage and outdoor. And if I wasn't sure on Friday, the energy of Saturday's practice really had me excited. I am proud of all of you--your work ethic and selflessness is to be applauded. Let's keep the momentum rolling this week!
Here's the latest installment of Fast Women. Check it out to be a student of your sport! Also, in Illinois High School Track News: Katelynne Hart ran 9:58 INDOORS this past weekend! #sick
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