Though the warm weather has followed us into the later days of December, winter track is well underway as the athletes prepare for their upcoming season. Senior girls Sara Schmidt, Cate Shippee, Saskia Keppler, Riley Alvaro, Kerry Callaghan, Isabel Park, Kelly Dwyer, Sam Halverson and Leah Rosenfeld all act as leaders of the team. Senior boys Michael Thurston, Brendan Hughes, and Kenneth Marshall also take on leadership positions amongst the boys, especially since there is a small number of upperclassmen. The varsity seniors teach freshmen and new members of the team how to use blocks in their starts and pass the baton in anticipation of a promising freshman and novice team this upcoming year. They also demonstrate leadership when leading workouts and warm ups. At practice, many of the athletes try to beat their personal records from last year’s season.
The sprinting, hurdle, and jumping coach is Coach Opremcak, more commonly known as “Coach O.” Coach Saladino heads the distance runners. Coach Chicolini, whose name has now changed to Coach Davenport, coaches multiple events. Her experience as a former Ridgewood High School runner adds great knowledge and a new perspective to the coaching staff.
The team has been vigorously training for the upcoming season through intense workouts such as “Uppers,” 400 breakdowns, and 200’s. For “Uppers,” the team runs to Upper Boulevard and sprints up the hill. After, they walk down in gradual segments until they reach the bottom. A 400 breakdown is when the runners begin by sprinting 400 meters (a full lap), then walking a lap. They then sprint 300 meters and walking 300 meters, and so on. Meanwhile, the normal sprint workouts take place at the Benjamin Franklin Middle School track. The short jog from the high school to the track acts as part of the warm-up for runners. Just recently, the girls had to complete six 200’s all under 31-33 seconds (per 200 meter). Senior Riley Alvaro mentioned, “It was a nice workout. Even though it was intense, we felt good after completing it.”
Some sprinting events include the 55, 100, 200, and 400 meter dash, the 100 and 400 hurdles, relays, and the 4 by 400 meter run. Other events include 800, 1600, and 3200 meter distance races, jumping, and pole vault. Because the sport takes place in the winter season, the meets are held indoors at venues such as the Armory in New York or Farleigh Dickinson University. Some special events held later in the season are hosted at Yale University and in Toms River, New Jersey. The runners, both boys and girls, eagerly began their season last week and continue to take the track by a storm.