Running towards success: Woodstock Track 2015

Lauren C.

Staff Writer

Students have recently seen the transition from winter sports to those of the spring. With swimming wrapped up and basketball just finishing its post-season run, it is time to turn our eyes towards the new top athletes in this school: the track team. The track athletes are putting in countless hours running, lifting, and sprinting toward their ultimate goals of success at the end of the season.

Double practices, meetings, and team bonding are just some of the efforts taken to ensure the best possibility of succeeding. “We try to have fun with it,” says junior distance runner John Baumgartner. He explains, “The team has gotten really close, and we try to joke around to get through the practices.” The sport is mentally and physically grueling, traveling countless laps around the track, and deserves the upmost respect of the student body that tends to overlook the sport as “just running.”

Expectations and hopes are high for the Woodstock High School track and field team this year. After a stellar past few seasons, ending in a Region 6AAAAAA title in 2013 and a victorious County Championship the past two years, the team has done an exemplary job working together towards their goals.  Longtime Coach Ricky Glasper is looking “to become region champs” for a second time. Meanwhile, individuals have goals as well. Distance stud senior Owen Bailey has his eyes on the podium at state, with a possibility of a state title in the 2-mile.

With GHSA 6A state title contenders, and a variety of talent throughout events, the team is looking sharp this year with widespread talent and contributions from a number of key runners and fielders. “The team didn’t lose too many athletes from last year,” says Coach Glasper. He adds, “We will miss our graduates such as Kylon Drones and Morgan O’Toole, but I am confident in the leadership we have this year from our seniors.” These seniors include the likes of Owen Bailey, Arielle Hunter, and Alexandra Melehan, all of whom went to state last year.  Melehan was a member of the all-region team following her impressive distance performances throughout county, region, and state, making her an obvious leader through all levels of competition. It is leaders like her that will be key in the team’s performance this year. Bailey placed in the top 10 at state in the two mile last year and hopes to improve that ranking this year. Junior Catherine Moreau has high hopes for the season. “Our team has already been working really hard. The practices have been tough, especially in the cold, but we know that the work we put in now is going to make a difference when it comes time to compete.” Thus far, the team has had many chances to shine.

At both the Milton Invitational and the recent Woodstock Invitational, the team pLC 2ut themselves out there against opponents from all over the state. The recent Woodstock Invite allowed the team to play host to over 20 schools, including locals Sequoyah and Etowah, as well as schools such as McEachern and Pope. “It was a long meet,” says fielder and short-distance runner Hannah Braxton, adding, “We were there all day, but it taught us to tough it out no matter the conditions and to persevere.” Overall, the team placed lower than they would have liked (below 10th), but it is all the more motivation to improve going forward,

The team is overall looking strong but there is always concern for the newcomers. “Some people definitely need improvements,” says Coach Glasper, “especially the freshmen. But we are doing what we need to do to get them ready to compete for us.” These changes include technique on starts, turns, and relay procedures. Many people do not realize that track is more than just running. Hurdles, starts, and relays all require a certain level of skill to execute properly.

For a majority of the runners, this is not the beginning of a season, but rather a seeming continuation of the cross country season. Between cross country and track, and conditioning in the winter, the distance runners essentially play a sport all year. These overlapping runners include the likes of Melehan, Bailey, Baumgartner, and Moreau. All upperclassmen, these experienced athletes are the backbone of the team, with their intense focus and dedication.

Throughout snow days and breaks, the team has worked tirelessly to stay in shape. “On one of the days off, we met up and ran a few miles together. It wasn’t anything official, but we just knew what we needed to do,” says Moreau. Going above and beyond seems to be a pattern for the Wolverines, and the school should be excited about what they are going to accomplish as the season continues.

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