By Frank Montenegro | Distribution Manager
Talented new athletes and experienced returners make the girls track team the best it has been in years, according to head track coach Richard “Mac” McIntosh. The team has almost doubled in size from previous years with competent athletes who McIntosh hopes will help the currently undefeated team conquer at the district competition this week.
Junior captain Lauren McGowne said this year’s team is much better than previous years.
“Among all the years that I’ve been part of track, this has been the strongest group of girls that I have been with,” McGowne said. “We have talent in every event.”
There is a lot of youthful talent this year that is contributing to the girls’ success as well, including freshmen Abby Clough, Brittany Cook, Maddie Metzler, Lauren Tripp and Audrey Webster. This year the girls are scoring more points and winning more meets than in the past.
McIntosh attributes this success to new recruits.
“We got a couple of upper-class athletes from the swim team who are new and learning the sport,” McIntosh said. “We have a very strong and large freshman class, which complements our very strong and large junior class, and makes us a very strong girls’ team; I think we’re the team to beat at districts.”
Junior Jasmine Meline believes the girls can win the Midwestern League District Championship this year.
“We’ve been working real hard as a whole and we’re only improving,” Meline said. “Districts is right around the corner and I believe we can take it home.”
McGowne said the team plans to use the experience they gain this year to help put them in the running for the 2013 state title.
“Our team goal this year is to compete in order to prepare us to take the state title next year,” McGowne said.
Junior Emily Moe believes the growth in numbers has also helped bring the girls closer, both as a team and outside of track.
“Since the pre-frosh started practicing with us, coaches have been more distributed; coaches aren’t able to have as much one on one time with the athletes, so we have learned to support and help each other,” Moe said. “Through this, I feel like we have gotten closer as a team.”
On the very first day of track practice the coaches challenged the upperclassmen to know the names of every kid on the track team.
“That kind of culture where you know each other leads to caring about each other, caring about each other not just in track, but in life, so the girls ends up being pretty close outside of track practice,” McIntosh said. “Because the upperclassmen have accepted that responsibility of actively leading, they have created a culture where the younger kids feels welcome and they feel valued for who they are.”
This year the girls track team has also started a new tradition: Every night before an invitational meet, there is a Mexican themed dinner hosted by a female athlete’s parents.
“It all started with Lauren’s first team dinner and it’s been that way ever since,” junior Kara Wood said. “We usually have Mexican theme dinners like enchiladas, quesadillas and fajitas. The dinner releases stress that we may have and puts us in a positive mood the night before the meet.”
Coach McIntosh thinks that by becoming closer, the girls have helped each other be successful athletes. He hopes their experience will help them bring home a state title.
“We have planted a dream in this class of junior girls. When they were freshmen, I pulled them aside, and I told them, ‘Look, you girls are pretty good freshmen athletes if you will stick together; if you will support each other through all four years of track and field, by the time you’re seniors, we can win a state championship,’” McIntosh said. “These junior girls are the best athletes and leaders I have ever coached. I believe this is the team to do it.”