by SOPHIA D’ADAMO Staff Writer
Monroe Township High School is currently ranked 12th place for boys track in Middlesex County. The team shares their passion of running by reinforcing their skills with head coach Ms. Traci Rickert, and assistant coaches Mr. Marc Debellis and Mr. John Murphy throughout the winter and spring seasons.
Runners participate in various competitive athletic contests based on running, jumping, and throwing. They are individual sports in which athletes challenge one another to decide a single victor. However, they work together as a determined team when competing in championships.
The track team practices six days a week. No students are ever cut after try-outs, so this year, there are around 75 athletes. They are required to run, jump, and throw at certain distances and within certain time frames, while working on polishing their technique and maintaining stellar performance.
The track team competes against other teams from various locations including East Brunswick, Old Bridge, Piscataway, South Plainfield, Sayreville, and South Brunswick. They most recently competed at Colts Neck where the runners participated in the 200, 400, 800, and 1600 meter runs, along with a 55 High hurdle jump and a series of throwing competitions.
Hurdle and assistant Coach Murphy said, “Our track team has put a lot of effort and has shown good work ethic throughout the year. It is kind of like the Olympics for New Jersey track.”
During the winter season, some athletes competed at state sectionals, and one moved on to compete at the group championships. Senior Shawn Reynolds placed 8th at state sectionals while senior Chris Wong placed 5th, which qualified him for the Meet of Championships in the 55 High hurdles.
Reynolds is both a hurdler and a sprinter for the 400 meter run. Coach Murphy said that for spring track, he will be one of the top members because of his skill, personality, and strong leadership. He will also be one of the coaches that will lead by example during the spring.
Wong is one of the top hurdlers in the state and will be competing against other top hurdlers while representing our school. Coach Murphy had the privilege of working one-on-one with Wong in order to prepare for the Meet of Championships. Coach Murphy sees his form and balance, along with all of his preparation toward track, and believes that this is what makes him such a great athlete.
Wong said, “I am excited to have qualified for the Meet of Champions since I am representing the school and one of the very few people to do it for this school. I don’t have much expectations going into the meet, but I hope to learn from the experience. My friends, coaches, and professionals have inspired me. Many of my memories throughout high school will and have to relate to track and field.”
The team tests their strength, agility, and speed when warming up before practice begins. They run one mile, stretch, and do a series of sit-ups and push-ups to get them ready for pushing their bodies to the limit.
Freshman Andrew Fellin started boys track this year. He said, “The reason why I like track is because it takes a lot of special skill and physical strength. Track is very fun because it is like man verses self when you are against the other competitors. That’s why I like it more than any other sport like basketball and baseball.”
The team has five groups: sprint, hurdle, distance, throwing, and jumping groups. Athletes focus on making themselves physically stronger by forcing themselves to go the extra mile and increase their speed. They are encouraged to specialize in at least two events within the same group. However, depending upon the interests and abilities of the runners, their requirements are flexible.
Freshman Tyler Schieda said, “I chose track because I really enjoy running. The track season went very well, and it was a lot of fun at the practice and meets.”
Coach Rickert is both the head coach and the sprint coach of the boys track team. She has been a coach for six years. When she coaches, she enjoys seeing students mature as strong athletes and enjoys making a difference in a student’s life.
Coach Murphy said, “We as coaches are very proud of the runners on the team due to their commitment, dedication, and the way they proudly represent our school.”
The boys track team is currently on the lookout for athletes for the spring season. In recognition for all of their hard work and success, are you going to be a Monroe Falcon and support the boys track team or will you going to become the next track member?