Jumping hurdles

Girls’ track looks to send shock waves this season

Jeremy Johnson, Sports Writer

Running while just having fun is one thing. Running, having fun and making people notice is another.

While having a good time is always on their minds, the girls’ track team always has their sights on what’s next.

Senior Antoinette Broughton is one of many who has her attention set on something bigger.

“I want to drop my times in all of my events,” Broughton said. “Me working hard has a big impact on what my results are on the track.”

The team has five members returning from last year who all went to state.

Head coach Rob Assise says if his athletes work hard and stay healthy, they have a chance to have a very successful season.

“We expect to do well at small meets and invites, be in the mix for conference and sectional team titles, and qualify as many athletes to the state meet as possible,” Assise said. “It really comes down to our coaches setting up an atmosphere that gives our athletes the opportunity to be successful, and our athletes making the choice to do what is necessary to be successful.”

Adversity often comes before you can achieve success however.

Senior Mikala Barrett has faced a huge amount of adversity throughout her career already.

Barrett suffered from patellar tendinitis and patellofemoral pain syndrome which brought her season last year to a close.

“I had to do a lot of therapy over the summer,” Barrett said. “I got a platelet-rich plasma procedure done which is basically an injection of plasma to help rebuild all the scar tissue. It was definitely hard watching the girls grind without me.”

The team has been conference champions 16 times, sectional champions eight times, and has placed in the top ten at the state meet 13 times.

To reach that level of accomplishment, the girls must be dedicated to their craft.

“Our top-end talent will match up well with elite athletes throughout the state assuming that our athletes make a commitment to improving every day,” Assise said. “I hope a substantial amount of our athletes come as close as possible to reaching their potential.”

Everybody has a favorite moment of their career.

For coach Assise, he experiences this moment every season.

“Whenever an athlete does everything in their power to acquire a skill or reach a certain mark and then reaches that goal, that’s what I like to see most,” Assise said.

The girls kick off their season Jan. 31 with their annual red/white meet.

Senior Jayla Stewart wants to start off her final season how she ended the last one.

“I am going to be a great example for the underclassmen, portraying good sportsmanship, and discipline,” Stewart said. “I also would like to perform extremely well at state, setting a new state and personal record.”

Stewart, who recently signed a full athletic scholarship with the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, is not the only one who wants to leave the campus with an everlasting memory.

“I’m looking forward to finishing the last of my four years strong with some of the girls that I met my freshmen year,” Barrett said. “Competing with them is a bond like no other.”