Monday @ Grant:
We started the meet strong with the field events. Although I did not get to witness it, Lillian threw huge PRs with both implements--nice work! In the long jump, Mariah also set a new PR. She keeps improving every meet! Finally, our two brave high jumpers looked better than ever. I got the chance to see a GREAT jump by Jenna; she nearly cleared the bar, and her form looked great! Jenna and Maya continue to improve this season, and I'm excited about their prospects next spring.
The track events got started with our F/S 4X800. Aubrianna stepped up to fill Ixa's shoes (poor Ixa was battling a stomach bug), and I am thankful that she wanted to attend the meet to support her team! She was a great opening leg, looking aggressive and connected to the race. She ran a new PR of 3:07, after setting a PR only days earlier at Conference. Amazing work, Aubrianna! Katherine was second, and took a dose of Aubrianna's gutsiness. She got out HARD (88) and finished strong to run a new LPR of 3:08, dropping a shocking 9 seconds! She looked smooth the whole way, and this new PR bodes well for her upcoming summer and XC seasons. (hint :)). She handed off to Bianca, whose achilles were both still bugging her. She still ran close to her LPR, and she ran a very even race to help her team. She handed off to our anchor, Cookie, who made big gains to set a new LPR of 3:17. She dropped a huge 14 seconds, showing off her end of the season fitness and grit. I'm really proud of this foursome; not only did they run hard for each other, but they have ALL grown tremendously this season. I know that they will continue to improve this summer, and I cannot wait to see what they can do in the fall!
We did not have anyone in the 3200, so the next race was the open 800, featuring Jenna and Blanca. Jenna got out hard in 88 and closed in 98, earning her a new LPR of 3:06. She had a great finishing kick, and I'm impressed by her focused goal-setting and improvements this season; they helped her drop 11 seconds today! Awesome work, Jenna! Blanca also ran a sweet PR. She took a risk by getting out harder than usual (98), which paid off. Not only did her new time of 3:34 show off her fitness, but it also showed her mental growth as a runner. I cannot wait to see her continued progress over the summer. This race was fun to watch from start to finish!
Our milers looked great today, too. They were in the right mindset pre-race, and set some great goals. Ilyanna took a risk in her first lap to get out hard, which helped pull Nataly along, too. Ilyanna's gutsy start helped her run a new PR of 8:27--nice work! Although Nataly was not able to pull off a PR, she really ran a strong race. She challenged other people throughout, and she had a nice kick. That kind of effort is commendable!
Our distance 4X400 ended the night. Bianca got out hard for us in a poppin' 97, and handed off to Maya, who looked great, earning a 1:44. Bianca had a great comeback in this race, running a speedy 91 and looking powerful and quick. She handed it off to our anchor, Katherine, who earned a sweet LPR of 83. What a fun race to watch!
Overall, I had so much fun today...I had fun because watching all of you shine is the best payment I could earn as a coach! I love how you all supported one another and celebrated each other's victories. THAT kind of team chemistry is what can help our whole team grow next year. Let's keep that mindset, bees!
Thursday @ Antioch Sectional:
After a positive week of practice, and with relatively decent weather (the wind was not great, but at least we were dry for *most* of the meet), I was optimistic about our chances to do well at the Sectional. Certainly, the mood was better across the entire team than the previous week. Our 4X800 started us off with a strong effort. Unfortunately, our relay was in no-man's land: we were not quite ready to run with the lead pack, but we were definitely stronger than the teams behind us. Our relay of Mary, Kaila, Carmen, and Angie ran strong despite a lack of competitors. The splits were solid, right around where we have been running, but the effort was what mattered most. In particular, Mary had a strong start for us, running smart and using the momentum of the lead pack to help her run a strong split. Kaila ran a very even race, looking stronger in her second half than she has before. Carmen, in her final race of senior year, wore her "Carmen Face" for the entire 800, despite dealing with a pesky cold. During her race, you would have never known she was sick, since she made a nice dent in the gap between her and the Antioch team; there is a reason that Carmen's picture is on the GRIT Wall, and that type of racing will certainly be her legacy. We will miss you, Carmenita! Angie looked sharp with a strong first lap. She came within a second of her LPR. Her experience, along with Kaila's, will help usher in the new era of our relay next spring. Overall, this relay has made progress this year, and I'm proud of their effort.
In the high jump, Jenna and Maya finished the season strong, despite a pretty sizeable obstacle: a 4'7" starting height. Although this is significantly higher than their normal starting height, they took the challenge in stride, using the meet as another chance to gain more experience.
In the 3200, Vic and Karen had a bit more luck in that they had people in their neighborhoods to race. In her last race of her senior year, Vic ran a smart and gutsy race. She was engaged with the racers around her, made several moves over the course of her 8 laps, and finished with a strong kick. When I think about the progress she has made as a racer, I am so proud of her progress. Karen had a great first half, making smart moves against her competition.
The open 800 featured another graduating senior, Steff, as well as one of our next generation, Natalie. Steff ran a beautiful tangent on the back stretch, using Coach Wynn's advice from earlier in the season in order to pick a smart spot in the pack. She ran a strong race that exemplified this season: she was smart and finished with grit and grace. Her leadership will certainly be missed next year! Natalie has already learned quite a bit from her--in her fastest race of the season, Nat dropped a whopping 5 seconds from her previous best. She achieved it by working on her confidence, so that she could get out harder, and by kicking harder than she ever has! Nice effort!
Our final race of the distance day was the mile with Mary and Jayla. Mary ran right around her season PR with a strong first lap and solid racing between. Post-race, she felt proud of her effort, which is what I want from all of you every time! Mary has grown so much this season, working so hard to improve and to push Vic in workouts; we will miss you, Mary! Jayla suffered from the same predicament as our relay: she did not have an immediate competition to work with. That being said, she did a nice job of pushing herself in order to run a solid race.
Although I would rather have another week of racing, I feel good about the conclusion about the season, and I hope you do, too! Let's celebrate the season this Thursday at 3:00 in the Lecture Hall. Please bring your CLEAN uniform and warm-up to turn in at that time. Take a break from running, and be ready to begin again June 1st. I will let you know when we will have our XC 2019 meeting. Until then, finish the school year strong. :)