The KO track and field team has continued their early season success throughout the last month. The team competed in multiple meets so far but the main focus has been the improvement of athletes in all areas.
Track and field consists of 17 events including running various distances, jumping, and throwing. Thus, a variety of skilled athletes are necessary for a successful team and season. “All events in track and field, whether that is running, jumping or throwing, are taken into account on how well we do as a team,” Head Coach Tricia Watson said. “It really is a team effort. We need athletes for all events to be competitive.”
Unfortunately, some of the team’s meets have been canceled due to bad weather while another meet was also an inter-squad meet for the boys after another team pulled out. However, the team did get opportunities to show their improvement in the meets they competed in. One meet was a long standing competition against Suffield Academy and Pomfret on April 26. The teams had good 4×100 meter relays on both the boys and girls sides. Freshman Tyler Brown broke into 20 feet on the long jump. Sophomore Christian Gordon ran two sub 55 second 400s in the 400 and the 4×400 relay. Another really strong meet for both sides was at Hopkins on May 10. The boys placed first and the girls placed second out of five teams.
The team has improved throughout the season and made great strides. Practices got increasingly harder as the season progressed. “As the season develops and the kids get more in shape, the workouts get harder,” Assistant Coach David Baker said. Coach Baker typically works with the long and mid-distance runners. “They get harder in terms of the distance they are being asked to run or how many times they have to run,” he said.
Workouts continue to increase in difficulty until championship season. “Once we get to championships we start to taper,” senior Co-captain Aidan Ladewig said. “We want everyone to be healthy during championship time.”
One of the many notable things in practice is the development and improvement of freshmen as they continue to take on major roles in the next few years. “There’s a really great freshmen culture in working hard and improving and then seeing that work pay off in results,” Coach Baker said. “They come into hard workouts seeing some progress and growth and it is really cool to have this younger talent.”
There have also been many notable individual performances. “Christian has been phenomenal in his racing, and he has not missed a single practice all season,” Coach Watson said.
Sophomore Claire Palmer has also been racing very well. Palmer ran a personal best of 10 minutes and 40 seconds in the 3000 meter dash and also ran 5:04 in the 1500. She additionally has been instrumental for the team. She came in first at Founders in the 1500. Also, she recently broke two records for KO, namely the 800 record from 1984 with a time of 2:23 and the 3000 from 2007 by recording another person best in the 3000 with a time of. Furthermore, after her spectacular win in the 1500, she was named Founders League Champion.
Brown especially has been good with his long jumping and sprints. “Tyler, who as a freshman, is competing against juniors and seniors in meets,” Coach Baker said. “That is really exciting to see.”
Another standout performance was from Brown, senior Chase Fountain, sophomore Joey Kalinowski, and sophomore Sandy Cloud. The team had a strong performance in the 4×100 relay, breaking another record from 1984 with a time of 43 seconds. That time helped them come in third at Founders.
During New Englands at Marianapolis on May 20, many athletes had standout performances. Palmer came in first for both the 3000 with a time of 10:36 and 1500 with a time of 4:50. The girls 4×4 team consisting of senior Co-Captain Jordan DiMauro, freshmen Ella Golino, Palmer, and junior Pauline Golder, came in third with a time of 4:27. DiMauro also came in third for the 300 hurdles with a time of 49.9 seconds. Brown came in first for the 200 running a time of 23.58 seconds and third in the long jump with a jump of 19 ft and 7 inches. The boys 4×1 team came in third running 45.62 seconds.
All of these record breaking performances are due to the dedication of the track and field athletes and strong coaching from Coach Baker, Coach Watson, Coach Alex Kraus, Coach Fritz Goodman, and many others behind the scenes.
The team has found ways to push one another throughout their season. “The team is very supportive and fun,” junior Ava Leshem said. “I love the team dynamic since everyone pushes everyone to their max.” This high level of competition has made all the difference.
The track and field season concluded with many improvements and strong performances. We hope their success continues next year and say goodbye to the senior leaders.