by BRIANNA DELUCA Staff Writer
Lady Falcons track and field team plan to end their spring season with State Sectionals on Friday, May 23 and Saturday, May 24.
Held at Hillsborough High School, state races allow varsity runners from all over New Jersey to compete against each other. According to many athletes, racing at State Sectionals is a privilege.
Freshman Tina Gasko said, “I would like to one day have the opportunity to go and compete at State Sectionals. It is something to aim for because only the best get to compete.”
Running events at states this year are 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, and 3200 meter races. Field events include long jump, high jump, triple jump, discus, javelin, and shot put. Hurdlers also have their chance because State Sectionals will be hosting a 100 meter hurdle race and a 400 meter hurdle race.
Freshmen Tiffany Emelle, Christina Hommer, Tiffanie Hooker, and Megan Melville will be competing in states for the first time. These young athletes exhibit great strength and determination, as they have huge high school track careers ahead of them. Over the course of the season, the girls have proved themselves and solidified their spots in the state races.
The spring track and field season began with an orientation-type practice on Friday, March 7. The coaches introduced themselves to the new athletes and addressed expectations to the returning ones. With nearly 90 girls at the first practice, head coach Christian Jessop was certain that not everyone would stick around for the remainder of the season.
“Some of you will quit. Not because you can’t do it, but maybe because track just isn’t for you,” Jessop said.
Coach Jessop was correct, as over 10 girls dropped the sport over the course of the season. Meanwhile, the ones that pursued it began to prepare for upcoming scrimmages.
The Lady Falcons went to two preseason meets in Matawan and East Brunswick. Although the final scores did not count, the coaches used scrimmage results to see which girls stood out.
Because of the team’s size, it was almost impossible to bus all of the girls to away meets during the season. Therefore, only select varsity and junior varsity girls were chosen. After analyzing scrimmage results and practice times, Coach Jessop drew up the first away meet roster with select competitors.
On Tuesday, April 1, the Lady Falcons defeated Bishop Ahr in their first meet by a score of 82-44. As far as scoring goes, the first three runners to finish in each event earn varsity points for themselves and for their teams. First place earns five, second earns three, and third earns one.
After winning 111-7 against Perth Amboy in what seemed to be a blowout, the Lady Falcons lost their first meet to Woodbridge. The score was tight until the end, however, and each team put up a great fight.
The track and field team won its three remaining dual meets against North Brunswick, Sayerville and Piscataway. With a final record of five wins and one loss, Coach Jessop was proud of the girls for finishing the season strong.
The athletes who will not be running in the postseason had plenty of other opportunities to shine, in addition to dual meets. Invitational meets, ones that involve many schools, as opposed to just two, gave the girls chances to compete on relay teams of four. Usually held on the weekends throughout the season, invitational meets were fun to watch and compete in.
Freshman Rachel Rapach said, “I competed in a relay at the Colts Neck Invitational this year, and my team and I won medals. I was so proud because we all worked together.”
How well do you think the Lady Falcons will do in comparison to the rest of the state?