Boys and girls track teams set their sights on state
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The Track and Field teams are sprinting into the season with high expectations. The team is proud of their high rank. The team broke records last year in 110 hurdles and the 4×1 records that may be difficult to match. Despite this, the team’s goal still remains the same; to go to the state tournament.
The runners have their heads high and are ready to work. The team is very strong this year, especially in their distance runners. They were nationally recognized for cross country in the fall and that seems to cross over well for the team. Coaches have been working with the runners to help ensure that they can be the best they can be. Scott Christensen is the coach for the distance runners and is looking to repeat the team’s success this season.
“The distance team and I run together ten months out of the year. We take a six week break and then it is time to gear back up again for track,” Christensen said.
Christensen has set his sights high for the season expecting to place within the top three schools at the state tournament. He expressed the importance of the state tournament by mentioning that the team seldom talks of the conference in order to keep their focus on being the best in the state. His confidence is backed up by his 35 years of experience as a track coach, as well as the team’s fourteen top three places in track and cross country over the last ten years.
Junior Daniel Hammer also recognized the strength of the distance runners. “The team has goals to be a competitive team when competing for a state title,” Hammer said.
Hammer also mentioned how the cross country team’s success will lead well into the long distance events in track. He likes how the coaches provide specific workouts for every section in order to succeed. He also likes how each coach ensures each member of the team is well rested and ready to go the next day, while making sure each runner works as hard as they can to progress throughout the season. Hammer enjoys running in the one mile and two mile events because it naturally goes well with his year round training for cross country.
It is not just the coaches that have high expectations for the year, but the runners as well. Senior and girls track captain Kennedy Simpson said, “Our expectations are to make it to true team state. We didn’t make it a few years ago, so we are really trying to make it every year now.”
The girls track team make state last year and they are looking for a repeat of the same result this season. She stated that the team has made improvements in many areas, especially in the captain’s role on the team. Simpson expanded on her statement by explaining how the captains have worked to organize the team better as well as improve parent involvement with the team. She spoke of how the teams two largest strengths are the athletes and the support system.
Junior Josh Phelps has his eyes on that sweet taste of state as well. Phelps said, “Overall I think we were pretty balanced last year. This year our distance looks very good. There are some places we could touch up.” He added, “We are currently ranked pretty high. I believe we have a lot of potential to do something special.”
Phelps runs in the 400 meter and has enjoyed running because his older brother was competitive in the sport as well. The coaches motivated them both to work their hardest in order to help become the best versions of themselves they can be. Phelps credits his motivation and success to Coach Jason Peterson or “Petey”. Phelps stressed that if it was not for Peterson he would not be the athlete or man he has become.
Junior Nate Musser is also fond of Peterson. He said, “Coach Peterson has always pushed me to go out of my comfort zone while also giving me chances to step up for the team.”
Musser competes in the 200 meter run and feels it is the right balance of speed and endurance for him. He likes the challenges track provides while still enjoying the running portion. Musser has always enjoyed track ever since he started and is seen by his everyday conversations and his attitude towards competition. He is in support of the team’s system of being divided into four sections to ensure each runner gets personal attention from a coach. Coach Peterson has been there for Musser pushing him while still providing him with opportunities for growth and to show everyone how the hard work has paid off.
“I love this sport because there is something for everyone,” Phelps said.