To most people, February either means Valentine’s day or cold weather; But for the RHS track team, February marks the start of a new season.
The track team is one of the bigger teams of RHS. The track team is coached by Derek Douglas, Stan Meece, Stacy Bolser, Britni Gettinger, and Alyssa Wysong. The team is starting to prepare for their first meet coming up and all the ones after.
People join track for many reasons, some find it helps with other sports.
“I joined track my freshman year because I enjoyed running and I thought it would help keep me in shape for soccer,” senior Payton Vanmiddlesworth said.
Likewise, others may also be interested in watching sports.
“The reason I joined track was that I’ve always loved to run and loved watching the Olympics for the girls,” freshman Tamia Hampton said.
Others find that it comes naturally to them.
“I joined track because I had a lot of success with it in past years,” freshman Aiden Snedigar said.
The track team has already started their practices, weekdays, 4-5:30 pm.
“Practices are going well, I’m pleased with participation, I just wish it would warm up already so we can get outside,” Gettinger said. “Practices start with the whole team doing a half mile warm-up followed by dynamic stretching, then we break off into our focused disciplines.”
The start of a new season means new strengths, weaknesses, and most importantly, new teammates.
“I think it will be different because we have lost some great runners and we have gained some new great runners,” Vanmiddlesworth said.
Some of the track’s newest members have only ever competed on middle school track teams.
“Middle school track is more about teaching fundamentals and form,” Gettinger said. “Also, getting the kids interested in the sport. High school track is more geared towards competitiveness and excelling to achieve personal goals.”
While it’s only the beginning of the new season, team bonding is bound to happen.
“I have a very close bond with the other runners, I feel like it’s better to be close with them because we are still all one big team, even when it comes to meets,” Hampton said.
Others find themselves with team bonds already made.
“Track is nice because it brings you together with a lot of people you wouldn’t necessarily meet otherwise, and it is nice because it allows you to branch out and make new friends,” Vanmiddlesworth said. “I’d say I am pretty close with some of my track teammates, especially because a lot of them played soccer with me.”
Some have been working alongside each other for years, even sharing a home life.
“Well, one of my teammates is my brother so there is definitely a bond there,” Snedigar said. “And others are people who I’ve been with for a few years and am continuing to do so with this year.”
Like any sport, a new season means new goals, challenges, and improvements.
“We had a strong season last year with both girl and boy athletes advancing to Regionals,” Gettinger said. “My goal this year is to get some of our athletes into State, I see a lot of potential already to make this happen.”
Gettinger also believes this season could help how RHS is perceived.
“The athletes have been through a barrage of Coaches and learning the new expectations set forth to them may be a challenge,” she said. “There is much work to be done to revive the running image of RHS.”
Track is one of the more competitive sports, the thought of competition weighs heavy on some of the team.
“I believe this season will be different than last because there will be more competition and faster runners,” Hampton said.
The team’s strengths are already becoming evident through practices.
“I think that the strength of the team is that we have both great runners on the sprinting side and the distance side and everyone has a great work ethic,” Vanmiddlesworth said.
However, no team is perfect and the RHS track team is no exception.
“Weaknesses would be keeping up with their speed,” Hampton said. “So far practices are going pretty good, we run a lot to get up our speed and stamina. We usually do hip flexor stretches, caves, and get our dynamics in.”
To some, this track season seems to be a promising one.
“I think it will be successful for both the boys and girls program, and I am excited to see how far both teams will go in the postseason state tournament,” Vanmiddlesworth said.
Not only do the teammates feel this way, but also the coaches.
“We have lofty goals this year to not only change the running image at RHS but also for our athletes to win sectionals,” Gettinger said. “We’re excited to get going!”