Track and field: more than just running

Liberty’s track and field has had a successful regular season and are now heading into postseason meets. However, many people don’t know all of the groups that make up track and field. Is it just a bunch of random people running around in tank tops and shorts or throwing spears? Here is what the Liberty track and field team actually does.

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Track and field: more than just running

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Running, jumping, throwing. What do they all have in common? They are all components of the Liberty track and field team. With the boys team only losing one match and girls team being undefeated this season, the upcoming postseason looks to be promising.
The team this year is very young, but that isn’t standing in their way of being successful.
“We are a young team this year but being young doesn’t mean that we still can’t do well,” senior Gabie Owens said. “Sure, it may be hard at times because we have to focus more on form, but we work together and get through it.”
Working not only with the coaches but with each other also is strengthening the team’s relationships and creating a really uplifting, positive atmosphere.
“We always cheer each other on,” junior Bruce Vagt said. “When somebody is running the last stretch of their race, everybody is right there with them to cheer them on.”
Even with the positivity from teammates, some challenges arise because the team is young, so some mistakes are made. But that doesn’t stop them from moving forward.
“Mistakes are natural in track. But you just have to get up, dust yourself off, and keep moving,” junior Brooke Ury said.
Mistakes aside, the Liberty track and field team has accomplished a lot this year. Both teams being undefeated this season shows their dedication and hard work.
“We have practice every day after school, meets once a week, and invites almost every weekend that select people go to. It can be a lot of work but, it’s all worth it in the end,” senior Cedar Cunningham said.
What is it that makes all those practices and all those meets worth it?
“The bonds you make with the people you run, throw, or jump with and strong. You spend multiple hours with them per week, so in a way you’re forced to become friends,” Owens said. “We get Snickers bars when we get a personal record or season record, which makes people train harder.”
After every meet the coaches give fun-sized Snickers to those who got a season record and a full-sized Snickers to those who either got two or more season records or a personal record. This incentive gives the athletes something to work towards.
“I think the awards are a nice thing that brings us more together as a team,” junior Daniella Paulino said. “We are really separated during actual practice but this brings us together and lets us appreciate our team.”
On top of Snickers, they also give out Gatorade awards to those individuals who don’t only compete well but also show good sportsmanship throughout the season.
“It feels rewarding to get the Gatorade award. It really lets us highlight and recognize important players in track,” Ury said. “A lot of times at meets, we don’t know how each other did, but these awards let us recognize those who did well and lets the rest of the team know how much their hard work paid off.”
With the team’s spirit high, the boys and girls move onto postseason.

Distance

Captains:
Maddie Neyland (12)
Alex Hartford (12)

Haley Archer (11): “Long distance running takes a lot of time, but the bond you can create with those who you run with becomes really tight. During practice, we get to explore lots of cool trails in and around Liberty, but we are pretty separated from the rest of the team since we are nowhere near the track during actual practice most of the time.”

Hurdles

Nathan Jackson (11): “Hurdling is a more obscure event that not many people pay attention to, but it can be really fun to run. We don’t have captains because there are only two events that use hurdles in them, but there is a really tight-knit community that is created with those who run the events.”

Andrew Ha (12): “It’s pretty easy to get injured doing hurdles since you’re jumping over things while running fast; I even broke a hurdle earlier this season.”

Jumps

Captains:
Brooke Ury (11)
Aiden Mikaelian (11)

Ury: “Jumping can be really fun; it’s pretty slow and not very stressful so there is a relaxed atmosphere during practice and meets. Also, with not many people, you can get immediate feedback from the coaches. It can be hard to do other things on top of jumps because they can easily stretch throughout the entire meet and aren’t necessarily a priority for most.”

Throws

Captains:
Margaret Baumgartner (11)
Cedar Cunningham (12)

Cunningham: “The throws team hangs out a lot up on the hill. It’s pretty laid back, we have dodgeball games and juice parties, but we are pretty separated from the rest of the team and don’t have a coach with competitive throwing experience, so it’s difficult at times. Overall, it’s still really fun and not as stressful as the other sections in track. We are also all really close because there aren’t too many people who throw regularly.”

Sprints

Captains:
Gabie Owens (12)
Bryan Le (12)

Owens: “Luckily for sprints the workouts are usually pretty short since you get tired pretty quickly from running really fast. Races also get done really fast, which can be nice, but there is a lot of standing around waiting for your next race to begin. Also lots of people get injured easily because they don’t stretch or warm-up properly. Sprinting is really fun, and it’s probably the most popular event to watch and compete in.”

Mid-distance

Captains:
Taylor Mulqueeney (12)
Caleb Carr (12)

Brett Roper (11): “Mid-distance can be kind of easy to get into postseason since there isn’t as much competition. We also have lots of different workouts that vary from more sprinting to more endurance-based. The workouts can be hard and pretty intense; you never really know what to expect. But you’re able to get pretty close with your teammates since less people do it.”

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