Track Athletes Triumph in District and Regional Meets

Track Athletes Triumph in District and Regional Meets

Chloe Ruppert, Staff Writer

Last Thursday, the track team had six outstanding athletes qualify for the Regional Championship, which they competed in on Thursday April 28, 2016.

On the preceding Thursday the 21st, the whole ODA track team participated against tough competition in their district meet, which included schools such as Cardinal Mooney, Shorecrest, and Northside Christian.

The boys 4×1 team, which consists of Joey Runge, Cody Cheney, Chris Poole and Kai Soderberg, emerged as the dark horse of their event, prevailing with a 4th/8th place finish, meaning that they qualified to move onto regionals.

Yesterday at regionals, the boys did not end up qualifying for states, but had an all time personal record of 44 seconds, beating the former school record in their race!

“We all had to work really hard on our handoffs and timing to the point where we didn’t even think about the exchange anymore. It’s definitely been a goal of ours to advance, and we’ve been working towards this goal since the beginning of the season. Coach Dan has been working a lot with us all year on the weekends and after practice as well,” says Junior Joey Runge.

Junior Sophia Gardinier had an amazing meet as well. She is the new district champion in the 400, running a time of 58 seconds. While competing in regionals, Gardinier finished in 3rd place, with a time of 58.69 seconds, which means that she will get to run in states next week.

“I would say that I didn’t really go into districts expecting to win, I just wanted to get top four but I was really happy to win because I’ve been working so hard for the past seven months so it is really nice to see that hard work finally paying off”, says Gardinier.

Saraiah Walkes, a current seventh grader has had arguably one of the most impressive seasons of any track athlete. The middle schooler has a reputation for bringing home the gold in any event she runs, and she did not disappoint at districts or regionals. After an impressive day of running, Walkes is eligible to run the 100 and the 200 in states. Just keep in mind that she, at age twelve, is consistently beating high school kids.

There is a definite pattern in the athletes who qualified for either regionals or states. The athletes key to success includes going above and beyond for their events. All six qualifiers have been putting in serious time outside of track practice on the weekdays, and you can often find them out on the track training on the weekends.

“Like a lot of the athletes at ODA who seek out ODA trainer Rod Miller for help with strength and conditioning, this group of athletes realized that weight lifting is only one third of the equation for success. Strength, speed, and flexibility is what it takes for all athletes to reach their full potential, no matter what sport they play. These athletes put in the extra time on Saturday mornings on the track and in the weight room, and as a result of their hard work dedication they reached success at districts, which we hope will carry over on the path to states,” says Coach Dan Wilson.

So there you have it. The ODA track team may not have been big in numbers this year, but that does not diminish their talent.

Congratulations on the amazing season, track athletes!