Story by Emma Coleman
While many used their three day weekend to catch up on sleep, members of the West Track Team drove to the University of Arkansas and competed in their first races of the season.
Runners from a multitude of states like Texas, Louisiana, and Illinois gathered to compete. Although the meet was not a MSHSAA sponsored event Coach Jesse Griffin wanted runners to compete and, “Have confidence they can do well and gain more experience.”
For most runners this is their first time running a track event in nearly a year, consequently their practices have had to transition from long distance to speed. “December was running forty-five to fifty minutes, recently we’ve done workouts to get our speed back,” said freshmen Jana Shawver. They meet for practice everyday after school and once on the weekends. “The workouts always end up paying off,” said senior Jessica Cox.
The runners competing in the Arkansas meet left after school Friday, raced Saturday, and returned home Sunday. Going out of state for track meets not only provides a chance to see new competition, it allows for team bonding and the creation of fun memories. “The out of town meets are the best. The group of girls make it better because they are so nice,” said Shawver.
However, as many of us know, whenever a competition takes place nervousness, anticipation, and excitement soon fill the air. “I don’t know how good they’re going to be. I hope our team does well overall and that I do well and that others will push me,” said Shawver.
This competition was a chance for everyone to test the water of the upcoming season. “I want them to get a chance to run fast, not worry about the cold, and test their abilities,” said Griffin.
Runners used the meet not only as a chance to gain more experience but as a chance to set goals for the upcoming season as well. “I really want all of my hard work to pay off. Last cross country season I wasn’t able to run much so it would be nice to run fast and break personal records,” said Cox.