Academy girls win first track meet of season against Spoto

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Gini Barreda

Sophomores Melissa Mainzer and Elise Heiman await the start of the race.

Gini Barreda, Staff

The Charles Johnson Invitational this past Saturday could not have gone better for the Academy of the Holy Names Track team at King High School. This happens to be one of the most competitive meets of the season due to the amount of teams that participate from High Schools throughout Hillsborough County.  However, the competition never seems to intimidate our Jags as they ran their heart out and placed first along with Hillsborough High School.

Under the spotlight, is junior Ryann McEnany who put forth an incredible effort at King coming first place in the 300 meter hurdles, the Long Jump, and the Triple Jump. Furthermore, she broke the school record coming in second place in the 100 meter hurdles. She was seen happily wearing her medals at the meet after her successful day. She and the rest of the Jags can celebrate after their victorious win.

Also, final tallies added up to a resounding victory for AHN’s track team last Wednesday night, February 22,  in their race against Spoto High School. The first meet of the season proved a long night for competitors as the heats got off to a late start following Spoto’s delayed arrival to Jesuit High School’s track.  Nonetheless, Academy girls and Jesuit Boys defeated their rivals.

Academy started its competition with pole vaulters Alex Picarilli and Kellie Michell  followed by events with students Hilda Delgado, Vallie Joseph , Michelle Ebrada and Sumble Sidique who were given three attempts each in the Shot Put and the Discus events.

Sophomore Vallie Joseph came close once again in  her attempt  to break the school record for shot put of 32 feet, 10 inches.  “Coming so close to breaking the record really inspired me to try even harder next time,. Our field team is awesome. They’re good listeners, they come out to try hard every day and they’re also good supporters. I’m proud to be their captain.”

Close by, a group of Holy Names athletes also prepared themselves for the long jump competition. The fact that it was their very first time participating in the long jump, made for an even more intimidating experience. Freshman Siobhan Lynch Clinched a distance of 14 and ½ feet.

“Long Jump was pretty nerve-wracking, but once you begin, you get over the fear.  I felt the coaches and the team were really supportive,” admits Lynch.

Clinching their spikes in one hand and their workout bags in another, Spoto finally arrived behind schedule in purple, proudly revealing their school color. This did not bother academy girls. They were ready to take them on.

The track sports began with a boom as the Academy students dominated in the girls 100-meter dash. The night sped along followed by the 1500- meter run also known as “The Mile.”   Sophomores Elise Heiman and Melissa Mainzer  hardly had time to catch their breaths as the starter raised the gun and pulled the trigger that signaled the beginning of the race. Both girls kicked off the surface of the rubbery track and strided gracefully counting down the four laps they would have to run.

Next followed the 4×100 meter relay, the 400 meter dash, and the 800 meter run.  Usually a 400-meter runner, sophomore Natalie Hahn competed in the 4×100 meter relay in last Wednesdays race. Not only was it not her usual race, but it was also her first track practice of the season. She, along with students Cristina Snyder, Sarah Davis and Siobhan Lynch, were prepared to take on their first practice after coming from a good basketball season.

“It was different from the 400 meter race. I had to start on blocks for the first time, so I had to learn how to do that. Coach Kelly told us to just run around the track and not get disqualified. But I almost ran into Siobhan and nearly dropped the baton!” said Natalie Hahn.

As the time came for the girls 300-meter hurdles, all eyes were on both academy athletes Ryann McEnany and Haley Ratchford. The cheers filled the stands as McEnany gracefully leaped over every hurdle to come in with an incredible time of 48. 26 seconds. This happens to be extremely close to the school record which had last been broken in the year 2007 with a time of 47.85 seconds. Ratchford came closely behind, finishing with a speedy 55.33 seconds.

Hurdles were swiftly moved off the track in preparation for the remaining 200-meter dash and 2300- meter run, also known as “DEATH.” However, runners Colleen Doherty, Sophia Gonzales, Allie Reichert and Emily Pollock proved how tough Academy girls can be, as they ran the 2300 meters alongside the boys.

The last event of the night was famous 4×400 meter relay. The crowd roared as the academy teams raced around the track taking completing their final event.

The track meets continue as the Academy team will go to The Berkeley Invitational at Berkeley on Saturday March 3rd.  Hopes are high for a successful track season that will lead the team straight to States.