New Track Season, Even Newer First Time Athletes


Clarion photo Anna Rollins

By Bella Forrest, Reporter

The Warriors started their season off with a bang, facing off against Benson and Franklin on home turf on March 15, placing second with 72 points for the boys and 62 points for the girls and then on March 30 at the PIL Varsity Relays, placing third for the boys with 74 points and eighth for the girls with 33.5 points.

Much of the team is new to track, this being their first year racing and competing, so there’s a factor of getting used to competing at the high school level and compensating for the amount of veteran runners and top field event competitors who are injured, sick or have graduated.

“This season has started out with a bang. We’ve got a lot of new freshmen and sophomores, juniors, and seniors who haven’t done track before and are coming to try it out and they’re actually doing really well. We’ve got people setting new PRs at every meet and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the season progresses,” said Emma Hausafus, senior.

At the meet on March 15, there were standout performances in the field events from Malik Benson, freshman, in the long jump (17-03.50) for third place; Andy Ho, sophomore in the pole vault (9 feet) for second place; Will Tsai, sophomore in the high jump (5-feet-4 inches) for third place; Joe Denniston, senior, in the discus (117-03.50) for first place; and Ben Mosberg, senior in the shot put (37-03.50) for second place.

As for the track events, in the 4×400 relay seniors Kieran Moylan, Stellan Roberts and Noah Adams and sophomore Alex Leatha led the Warriors to a second place finish with a time of 3:37.94. In the 4×100 relay, seniors Jacob Van de Lindt, junior Peter Gregory, and sophomores Gabe Knepper and Leatha ran their way to second place. In the hurdles events, Roberts dominated the 300 hurdles and the 110 hurdles with times of 42.87 and 17.30. Adams raced to finish first in the 1500 run with a time of 4:14.39 and first in the 400 with a time of 52.43. Moylan finished third in the 800 with a time of 2:10.60. Leatha finished third in the 200.

At the meet on March 30, there were top performances from Denniston in the shot put (39-01), scoring eighth place, and first place in the discus with a throw of 125-04. Morgan placed second with a throw of 119-07. In the javelin, freshman Grace Pytynia-Hillier scored 92-01 for sixth place on the girls’ side, and on the guys’ side, Morgan scored 161-05 for second place. Hausafus jumped her personal record of 5-01 to score first place in the high jump, and senior Abigail Bullock placed fifth in the long jump (15-01.50). Roberts scored 18-09.50 for a sixth place finish in the long jump on the boys side.

In the track events, the boys’ 4×400 relay scored first with Adams, Roberts, Gregory and Sultessa for a time of 3:30.98. The boys’ 4×800 relay scored fourth with Tanguy Bader, Nick Hart, Brendan Walsh and Adam Nayak in 9:04.87 and in the distance medley relay, Adams, Gregory, Moylan and Sultessa scored third with a time of 10:42.46.  

“Realistically, we did very well. Franklin has a good team. From an individual standpoint, Noah Adams did a very good job, Joe Denniston won his event, Roth Morgan won his event, Emma Hausafus won her event. We definitely lost some talent last year. You don’t graduate an Emma Wren, Nabi Amin and a Roba Sultessa and a Peter Kurtz and a Ava Mickola and a Eve Lathrop and a Bella Forrest, so it takes a while to reload,” said head track coach Steve Nims. “We have a lot of freshman sprinters out and one thing we really noticed yesterday in the relays is that they actually performed really well, but they need to work on their handoffs a little tiny bit so I expect in some of these events where we’re young, we’ll take our lumps earlier in the season and then as they gain more confidence through experience they’ll really begin to improve and see their times really drop.”

Unfortunately, the team has already been facing a lot of setbacks to their season not only regarding injuries and sickness, but the pole vault pit and its current condition. “We have a very old pole vault pit. It’s a very dangerous event because you are going up high and you’re landing and you want to land in something that is large enough and stable enough to catch you and make sure that you land safely. Our pit is probably a little bit too small and the padding has begun to break down, so we literally have chunks of foam that are missing in our pad. There’s a life cycle to these things and we’ve been working on it for four years getting it replaced. If one person gets injured that could be a $100 million dollar lawsuit, so that’s something to look at too,” said Nims.

It may be a little bit too early to tell who will qualify for state, but the veterans are definitely showing promising results. “Noah and Jalato in the distance events [should qualify for state] whether that’s in the 800 or the 1500, they should be very competitive. Joe Denniston at the relays [March 30] was the top discus thrower in the district and Roth Morgan was number two. Roth should be very competitive in the javelin as well. Emma Hausafus has been battling injuries, but looked really good in the high jump. Tess Franke, who went to state last year on our 4×4 has been sick a lot of the season so hopefully when we get her back she can do some stuff. Sometimes that takes more than a season, but we have a very very good, young crew,” said Nims. The next meet is on Wednesday, April 6 at Wilson.