Track team picks up the pace for sectionals

The track team heads to sectionals as they finished districts last Saturday with 12 qualifiers for Saturday’s sectional meet. Both the girls and boys 4×100 meter relay teams placed in the top two spots along with fourth place in the girls 4×200 meter relay and many individual victories.

Among the many relay qualifiers, senior Joe McDevitt advanced in the discus throw and senior Jared Jefferson in the 100-meter dash, 200-meter dash and triple jump. Junior Kendall Morris qualified in the 100-meter dash and the long jump and Madison Jilek will compete in the pole vault.

The boys 4×100 meter relay team placed first at districts, coming out of conference with a new school record. The school record was set at 43.54 seconds in 2006 and the boys beat this time with 43.35 seconds on April 30. According to Morris, the relay team felt pressure going into the race, but pulled through once the race began.

“We were all really nervous and we felt that we were not ready to run, but the adrenaline came and we all ran our best race,” Morris said.

As Morris transferred from CBC at semester, he began his first high school track season and has succeeded much more than he ever thought he would.

“Since this is my first year running track, I didn’t expect to be amazing at it. I came out nervous, but there is this bond between teammates that you just know is real,” Morris said. “Watching the team develop, we had a lot of potential at the beginning of the year and at when it came down to it, everyone knows they did their very best and it makes you feel good after every event.”

Morris placed in three out of four of his events, receiving first place in both the 4×100 and the long jump. He is seeded first for the long jump at sectionals on Saturday at Parkway North High School and will be disappointed if he does not place as well as expected.

“I hope to go to state in the long jump and the 4×100. I expect to place first at sectionals in the long jump because I am ranked first,” Morris said. “We just need to practice our handoffs for relays and make sure all of our teammates are on the same page and that everyone is doing their best in their individual events.”

Morris’ fellow 4×100 teammate Jared Jefferson placed in all four of his events at the district meet. With four events at sectionals, Jefferson hopes to place in at least one to make it to the state meet for his first time.

“I want to keep going until I get to state,” Jefferson said. “I need to work hard and it would mean a lot to make it because I have never made it to state in my life.”

This opportunity is special to Jefferson because this is his last shot at making it to state as he is a senior. Along with his teammates, Jefferson is preparing by calming his nerves at practice as the competitions are becoming more serious.

“I’m nervous but ready [for sectionals] at the same time. I just need to clear my mind and not think about anything but the race,” Jefferson said. “I felt great [when I placed in districts] and it is a great opportunity to move to sectionals. I know I can do my best.”

While the sprinters reached success, some individual athletes also advanced in areas other than running. Madison Jilek placed fourth in the girls pole vaulting event, barely making the cut for sectionals. Jilek is ranked fifth at sectionals and hopes to place at least as well as she is seeded.

“The top four people go to state and I am ranked fifth. The girl ahead of me is a whole foot higher so it depends on how practice goes this week and if we do as well as we are ranked,” Jilek said.

This triumph was not throughout the whole team as many athletes did not perform as they had been seeded. Although some did not succeed, Morris still feels that everyone tried their best.

“I think overall we did pretty good. There were a lot of let downs. Some people reached their goals but there was a lot of heartbreak because not everyone is able to make it.”