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Lady Falcons sprint to the finish

by BRIANNA DELUCA Staff Writer

The girls track and field team plans to end the winter season with an awards banquet on Tuesday, March 4.

The banquet will include a pizza dinner and a brief ceremony in which the girls will be recognized for their accomplishments throughout the season. With nearly three months of training behind them, all of the athletes deserve some recognition.

The season began during the first week of December, shortly after Thanksgiving break.

Head Coach Christian Jessop said at the preseason meeting, “If you sign up for track…you WILL run.”

That is exactly what the girls did. They ran six days a week. Even after their runs, they were required to spend a certain amount of time in the weight room for strength training.

Junior Giuli Flaherty said, “We practiced every day, except Sundays. But sometimes if our race ran really late, our coaches would give us the following day off.”

Granted, the schedule was not always perfect. Due to an overwhelming amount of snow, many practices were canceled. The girls had to find ways to run at home to avoid missing out on training days.

For days that practice was not canceled, coaches gave the girls a mix between easy and hard workouts – mile repeats, tempo runs, and ladders are some of the more difficult ones. These help to condition the girls and prepare them for races.

The easier practices were usually scheduled before and after race days. This way, the girls would not push themselves too hard before meets and get hurt. It also gave them a chance to cool off on the following days.

Track is, for the most part, an individual sport. It is a great alternative for students who dislike the pressure that comes along with performing on highly competitive teams. With so many events, the individuals focus on themselves and keep track of their own progress.

The events that athletes can compete in for winter and spring track include 55m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1000m, 1600m, 3200m, long jump, high jump, pole vault, shot put, javelin, discus throw, and hurdles.

The athlete gets to decide which events she competes in at the beginning of the season. Each coach is assigned certain events to follow, so the girls get more individual attention.

Freshman Tina Gasko said, “I compete in the 800 and 1600 meter events because I like running for distance as opposed to sprinting.”

Keep in mind that the 1600 meter event is four laps around the track, equivalent to one mile. Sophomore Amanda Koluda holds the season record for 1600 meters with a time of 5:46.76. Junior Brianna Mantz holds the record for half mile this season with a personal best of 2:31.04.

An extra special accomplishment was also made this season by junior Yazmyne Abbot. She broke the school winter shot put record by managing to toss a weighted metal ball over 34 feet. She topped her previous record from last year by a foot.

Aside from team events, the sport also offers relays where several team members can compete together. Flaherty prefers competing in these team events.

As a whole, the team traveled to different invitational meets around New Jersey. These involve many different schools as opposed to just one or two. Because of this, the team did not keep track of a specific record of wins and losses.

On a larger scale, winter track can simply be seen as preparation for spring track. During the winter, the events are not as competitive. The spring is when the excitement really begins.

With spring track right around the corner, there is not much time to make up your mind. Will you come out and support our girls in the spring season or will you join them instead?

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