Off To The Races

On+your+marks%21++The+H-F+boys+track+and+field+team+posing+for+a+group+photo+prior+to+the+2022+season.

Photo courtesy of the H-F boys track and field team

On your marks! The H-F boys track and field team posing for a group photo prior to the 2022 season.

Andrew Hale, Editor-in-Chief

The 2022 boys track and field season is off to the races as tryouts began on Jan 17. Hundreds of athletes showed up in anticipation of making the team while only 163 actually made the varsity team. 

H-F has seen a great amount of success over the program’s history, becoming SWSC Blue Conference Champions and the State Runner-Up in 2018 and 2019. The Vikings look to have the same success with having both a full indoor and outdoor track season for the first time since February of 2020. 

Seniors, who have been a part of the program since they were freshmen, are excited to finally compete in both aspects of the track season.

“It feels great to finally have a normal season, although it’s a little weird because I haven’t run indoor since my sophomore year,” senior Anthony Mootry II said.

The few unprecedented seasons before 2022, are especially difficult for underclassmen since they have never truly experienced a true high school track and field season. In order for everyone to be on the same page this season, the team must rely on seniors like Ahmari Meeks-Miller to become a leader to the younger runners on the team.

“I feel like a lot of younger guys on the team definitely look up to me,” Meeks-Miller said. “I do help a lot of guys whether it’s bringing in the personality or just guiding and teaching them”

Mootry , who competes in the 400 meter dash, 200 meter dash and the 4×400 relay, has also been going out of his way in order to help some of the younger runners succeed. 

“I have been leading warmups and giving advice to my younger teammates when I can,” Mootry  said.

While some of the team may be younger in age, they are not necessarily new to the sport of track and field. Junior Kalel Fargo, who has run track since seventh grade, has big aspirations for himself and his team.

“Our goal as a team has been the same all three years I’ve been here, and that’s to be the best team in the state and win it all in May,” Fargo said. “My personal goal is to contribute however I can as a runner to our overall team success.”

With having such a large team, the comradery between teammates is what can truly make or break a team from reaching its full potential. With the occurrence of the pandemic, Covid has disrupted the ways in which teammates have interacted with each other over the past few years.

While the student-athletes haven’t necessarily taken their relationships with teammates and coaches for granted, some seniors will definitely miss the relationships they’ve created throughout their years on the team.

“I will miss the team feel,” Meeks-Miller said. “Every guy on this team has made me feel like I can achieve my goals and push me to do so.”

Track and field has also taught athletes important life skills away from the track.

“Participating in track has taught me how important mental health is,” Mootry II said. “Learning this has taught me control and balance, which is useful in all aspects.”

These very skills will be vital as the Vikings look to prove why they are one of the best teams in Illinois, and put their names in the record books, by winning their first state championship since 2017. 

The team competed in their first indoor meet on Feb. 12 against Bolingbrook, Fenwick, Thornton and Whitney Young, with around 80 H-F athletes making their high school track and field debut.

 Ultimately, the Vikings were successful having 11 first place finishes in the 55 meter dash, 60 meter dash, 200 meter dash, 60m 39 in hurdles, 4×400 relay, 4×800 relay, high jump, pole Vault, long jump and triple jump.

Meeks-Miller, who finished first in the triple jump with 11.63 meters is focused on both his goals and the importance of competing indoors for the first time in over a year.

“It feels pretty good to have a “normal” season,” Meeks-Miller said. “We always compete against some of the best guys in the state and I feel like I can really go all out again this year while also achieving  one of my personal goals of jumping 22-23 feet.”

H-F’s second meet proved to be difficult as they went up against Argo, Minooka, Neuqua Valley and Shepard on Feb. 19. While the Vikings didn’t see the same amount of success, they still saw first place finishes in the 400 meter dash, 800 meter dash, 60 meter 33 inch hurdles and long jump.

The Vikings biggest meet in over two years came on Saturday, Feb. 26 in the “D117 Clash at the Coliseum” hosted by Lakes Community High School.

H-F placed third overall, out of 22 teams, with first place finishes in the 60 meter 39 inch hurdles and the 4×800 relay.

The H-F boys track and field team looks to continue their early success as they take on Eisenhower, Hillcrest, Lincoln-Way Central and Tinley Park in their next meet on March 8.