Track Team is Sprinting into 2021

Wickets+are+a+favorite+of+cross+country+and+track+athletes.+They+are+great+speed+builders+and+a+fun+conclusion+to+practice.+%28Runners+wear+masks+at+all+times%2C+except+when+running%2C+although+some+choose+to+keep+theirs+even+while+running.%29

Claire Mulkey

Wickets are a favorite of cross country and track athletes. They are great speed builders and a fun conclusion to practice. (Runners wear masks at all times, except when running, although some choose to keep theirs even while running.)

Claire Mulkey, Director of Communications

“TRACK!” runners yell as they round the last curve, warning all those in their way to vacate to the safety of the football field. Now that it is January, the track and field season is gearing up at Roswell. Practices began January 11 and will continue through the spring- hopefully until May, when the 7A state championship meet will take place. 

Like all things during the COVID-19 pandemic, the season looks a little different than in past years. Masks are required at all times, except when athletes are running. All athletes must have their temperature taken every day before practice and meets. In previous years, on rainy days, the team would practice in one of the indoor gyms. This year, however, to limit time indoors with a large group of people, practice will most likely be canceled on days with inclement weather. There is no indication that the team will be limited in numbers, but as students have learned in 2020, nothing is guaranteed in a pandemic. 

 

Distance coaches Sweet and Jimenez are exciting new arrivals to the program. Coach Sweet was a runner for Roswell High School herself and still holds a school record in the 4×800. The varsity girls are hoping to break that record this season! Coach Kristy Jimenez also brings plenty of experience to the team- she was a professional runner in Milan. These two additions complete a strong set of coaches headed by Coach Feilen, a science teacher at Roswell. 

After the cancellation of the track season last spring after only a few meets (and months of preparation), the stars of the season are yet to be decided. Junior Lynley Blocker is expected to continue making strides in both the pole vault and 800 competitions. She is “looking forward to competing in as many meets as possible, especially since the season was cut short last year.” Her favorite events are the “800 meter because it is a fast and competitive race and the pole vault because it is so different from other track events and because I can use my gymnastics background.” Senior Melanie Tribick, committed to Georgia Southern for cross country and track and field, will likely continue to dominate the mid-distance and long-distance races. Freshman newcomer Christian Jimenez did exceptionally well in the 2020 cross country season, so big things are expected of him on the track. The mid and long distance varsity boys have a roster with depth and their rankings on the team will likely fluctuate as they did during the cross country season.

In the sprinting world, the season’s preparation is underway. At practice, warmups, wicket drills, hurdles, strength training, and sprinting drills are done to build speed and perfect the running form. Junior Ethan Reese says he joined the track team because he felt he could be “a good addition to the sprinters.” He is “hoping to improve [his] speed, win medals, and compete in the region.”

Junior Jemma Nelson has already achieved impressive PRs in the discus and shotput and is anticipated to once again top the roster for girls’ throwing. She credits her success to hard work. Nelson says throwing “was hard but I had to learn at the beginning that you’re not always going to throw the farthest or even be the best, but if you keep practicing you will eventually build up to where you want to be.”

Junior Bailey Oetinger, primarily a soccer player, participated in the long jump and scored well, especially for a newcomer. The jumpers have not yet begun practice but will be led by Coach Gant, the coach who specializes in jumping, when they do so. 

The track team has a solid schedule for the year, with 17 meets lined up. The team will even battle hometown rival Blessed Trinity in a dual meet, the first of the season. 

In these early weeks, the focus is around getting in shape and cementing a foundation for the rest of the season. This foundation, combined with the drive and determination of the athletes and the knowledge, energy, and guidance of the coaches, is expected to bring big wins at Berry this May.