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Racing to the finish line: senior track members head to state

Ria Talukder, staff writer

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With the semester coming to a close, senior members of the boys track team want to end the school year on a high note as they send team members to compete at State.

Boys Track will compete in Charleston, Illinois  at the State meet this Friday. Senior state runners include Kyle Fitzgerald, Kyle and Brian Griffith, Matt Pereira, who will all be competing in the 4×800 relay. Competing in the 4×200 relay are runners Tommy Messina, Jake Stevens, Alex Nelson, and Sean Bandel.

“The most exciting thing about competing at the state meet is the fact that as a runner, I’ve been working towards this my entire track career,” Messina said, who will be going to state for the first time. “All the hard work and preparation paid off when I got the time needed to go down to state, and it will hopefully pay off at the meet too.”

Much of the journey leading to state is aided by the preparation for meets led by the track team coaches, said Messina. Coaches JB Hanson and Randal Dunbar assign them workouts throughout the week that are geared towards increasing specific areas such as speed or endurance, according to Brian Griffith. Each workout is designed to help the runners reach their peak performance.

“I appreciate the hard work our coaches have put into us because they have to pay so much attention to every runner as an individual,” Griffith said. “They have to know our weaknesses and how we need to improve our times. That’s a lot of time dedicated to us as runners, and that dedication is what got us to state.”

Members of the team, however, made sure to put forth their own effort alongside the coaches to. According to Griffith, many of the distance runners also run cross country to improve their endurance and ability. During the off season, Griffith said, a core group of guys train and run together in their free time so they can be at their best shape when track comes around in the spring.

“Getting to State isn’t an easy feat,” Griffith said. “You have to motivate yourself. As a team, we all kind of do that by running with each other and pushing each other to do our best.”

Griffith and Messina both agree that win or lose, getting the opportunity to run at State is an award in itself. As a returning member, Griffith can attest to the rush of running at a State competition. Unlike a regular meet, many more spectators attend a State competition. Having all those eyes on you, said Griffith, pushes you to do your best.

“That rush is what I’m excited to experience,” Messina said. “Winning would be amazing, but I’m more proud of us just making this journey. I can’t wait to run in front of all of those people.”

 

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Racing to the finish line: senior track members head to state