Photo by Brooke Miller
Story by Brady Beam
The warm spring weather gives an euphoric effect on the team as they realize that soon the preseason will be over and they will be competing as a team once again. The new members start to discover their niche on the squad with the help of older members pushing them every day. Sophomore pole vaulter Annalise Zeinemann has prepared for the changes to the lineup by conditioning to become more athletic while also increasing her leadership skills.
“I have been preparing for this upcoming season by pole vaulting over the summer and doing conditioning to get stronger and faster while also trying to be more socially involved with the team,” said Zeinemann.
The team also recognizes that it will be important to make everyone feel included in order for the team to act as a unit.
“Our team will encourage new members and value what they contribute to the team,” said senior long distance runner Carley Conway.
For the older members, the experience of being on the elite teams from the past few years has given them the confidence to help replace the previous waves of past graduates.
“I think we have gained the confidence to smoothly transition from the past seniors because the older you get the stronger and faster you become, so we know what we are capable of, and some of us have also raced with them as freshmen, so they were able to push us,” said junior long distance runner Grace Suer.
The team is looking to keep building off of 10 straight sectional titles, where much of the core group is returning to possibly create one of the better squads in recent history.
“On the distance side there was only one senior who heavily contributed and our team was already young last year so we are all looking to develop and mature as a team to reach our goal as one of the top teams in the state,” said junior long distance runner Sydney Baxter.
To prepare for the toll of the season, many runners are staying conditioned throughout the year by playing other sports or running during the offseason.
“Our upperclassmen have done a multitude of things to prepare for this season, some of them play other sports so they stay in good shape. I also know that some of the girls have been running during the offseason or they are working extremely hard during practice to get back in shape,” said sophomore sprinter Keegan Kaiser.
It can be a challenge for the runners to stay mentally and physically healthy in a tedious sport such as track and field where you need a strong mind and body, but with the help of the school’s facilities, the team can find relief.
“For me, I like to take an ice bath everyday to heal my muscles after a tough run,” said long distance runner Natalie Claire.
The keys to success for most of the runners are preparing properly and keeping a positive mindset. Preparing for a race, according to the runners, can consist of eating healthy, staying in shape, and visualizing their upcoming races.
Conway said, “My key to having a successful season is being with my teammates and having a good time, while staying physically and mentally healthy.”
Having successful seasons leads to many memorable moments. This year’s squad looks to continue the memories from the past few seasons, while also creating new ones.
“The most memorable moment of last season was everyone standing around after the conference waiting for the announcement, and when they announced we won, we shouted and cheered and took a picture with an official; we want to make it to that point again, ” said Zeinemann.
With the continued work ethic and confidence displayed from the girls, the team looks to put up one of the best performances in school history.