Girls’ track team competes at open meet in anticipation of first invitational

Racers filled with nerves waiting till it’s their turn to race. Crowds standing in silence as they say on your mark, get set, “BANG” the gun sounds and the racers are off. Every person is cheering on the runners. It goes from dead silence to franic yelling by teammates, coaches, friends, and parents cheering on the runners hoping they get first place.

Sprinters of the Oswego girls’ track team had a meet against East Aurora on Tuesday. Every girl came ready to compete and many achieved success in their races.

Sophomore Kathy Harris is a captain for the track team. She looks at her role as a way to motivate her team. At meets and practices she pushes every girl to do their best. One way she motivates is by giving out hugs and always having a smile on her face. This is her second year running track so she understands all the nerves everyone has before they race.

“I just like to try and motivate my teammates and try to calm them down. I also try and make sure they aren’t worried. When you are having fun with what you do and love what you do, you just do it better. So I just try to help them find out why they love track,” Harris said.

The meet started off with the field events. Sophomore Ella Vacek competed in the high jump and got first place. She jumped over 5 feet 2 inches. All Vacek needs is one more inch and she will be competing for state.

“The team did very good today. We set many of personal records. A lot of people were pushing through pain and didn’t give up, which is really good,” Vacek said.

The team had set 57 personal records. After each time a runner sets a personal record they receive a pin to acknowledge their achievement. The meet was great preparation for them because they have their first invite on Saturday.

“I think a lot of the girls are excited for the invite because we finally handed out PR pins the other day. You wanna earn those because they are like little tokens saying that you improved,” Harris said.

After the field events had finished the running events were up. First was the 55 meter dash. Senior Morgan Miller ran in the 55 meter dash and got 2nd out of the 44 racers that competed. She finished with a time of 7.71 seconds.

“I felt like I needed a little more practice and to work on my endurance because I haven’t gotten the chance to get in shape yet. So when I get in better shape I will do better in my races,” Miller said.

The goal every time they race is to improve. Practice is where these athletes work on technique and preparing for the meets ahead.

“I think we have to just keep working and understanding that unless we run full speed we aren’t gonna get faster. That means in practice we need to try to run full speed. If not when it comes to a meet you won’t improve,” Coach Connor Downs said.

The race had continued by after the 55 meter dash was the 55 meter hurdles. Makayla Buenafe ran in that event and got second overall. She had a time of 10.31 seconds. After the meet she was named feet of the meet because she stayed focused on what she had to do during her races.

“I usually just stay quiet and think in my head about what my coaches told me before. I focus on what I have to do and make sure that I do the best that I can,” Buenafe said.

During every event teammates cheer each other on wanting them to run as fast as they can and catch the girl in front of them. Even though track is an individual sport they have teammates who have their back.

“We love helping each other out no matter the situation. Some people will get really down about themselves. If they didn’t get a good time but our team is just like a family. We are always there for each other and we cheer each other on no matter what,” sophomore Tia Lyznicki said.

The final race of the meet was the sprint medley relay. A medley race consists of a 55 meter dash, 200 meter, 200 meter, and 400 meter. Miller ran the 55 meter dash for her relay team. She gave them a slight lead and the team continued from there. Finishing in first place with a time of 2 minutes and 15.87 seconds.

“I wanted a change and love to run a lot. I also like to push myself and I feel this sport does that for me,” Miller said.

At the meet in the lane next to Miller was Freshman Marissa Zeno and her team of four runners. The plan before the meet was not for her to participate in that event but she was thrown into it because they were down a racer. She stepped up, ran the 400 meter part of it and helped her team. Her group finished in 2nd place with a time of 2 minutes and 20.89 seconds.

“I was super nervous at first but my teammates they calmed me down and helped me realize I could do it. It was all in my head,” Zeno said.

The invitational on Saturday is the first official meet where some racer won’t get the opportunity to race. Coach Erik Aister calls looks at these meets as little checkpoints throughout the season.

“With it being only the 3rd meet of the season for us, We are just looking for gradual growth. Week after week improvement. The way we look at track is that our indoor season is basically a big long training season for outdoor season,” Aister said.

The Wolves will attend their first invitational of the season at Plainfield South on Saturday, February 23rd, at 9:00 a.m.

Alex McPhee is a sports writer for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the Howl

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