Beating the odds; breaking records

Track team works hard to keep their season positive


Steven Buerkle clears a hurdle in a race at Beaver Falls on March 29.

Morgan Stewart, Staff Writer

With the weather starting to warm, and the calendar turns to April, this year’s track season starts picking up. March was just the beginning for this team.

With a new season comes new struggles, of course. First of all, the season started in a little bit of a rough patch, due to this unpredictable Pennsylvania weather.

Of course, there is also struggles that are faced every year, like figuring out who the new leaders of the team are, which upperclassmen are going to take on leading the team and encourage the younger athletes to keep on going.

“This year’s team is huge. We have so many new kids coming up this year; our team is a young team, but it’s good because we will have people for the events,” senior Brittany Freed said, who participates in the 1,600-meter, 800-meter, 400-meter, and the 4×800 and 4×400 relay running events.

On top of that, this year the track team welcomes new coaches to their roster. They have added middle school art teacher James Gregg and high school computer applications teacher Tom Hickey as assistant coaches to the head coach, retired high school mathematics teacher Ed Shephard. Hickey has lent his hand in being the assistant coach and Gregg has stepped in with coaching the throwers.

Even with the loss of last year’s talent, the team still has a promising outlook for the season to come, this being backed up by the results of the few meets that took place in March.

“The team is just as good as it always is. The attitude of everyone is a winning one and we have the athleticism to have another successful year,” senior Paige Velemirovich said, who participates in all three throwing events — discus, javelin and shot put — and is also used as a distance runner when needed.

Through hard work and practice, this years team has managed to reach the standards that past teams have been able to reach and surpass.

“This year is different because we are already ahead of past years,” senior Ben Wright said.

April is a heavy month, with eight scheduled track meets for the dedicated athletes to attend. The first meet of the month was held on April 5, against New Brighton, Summit Academy, Ellis School and Winchester Thurston at New Brighton.

The girls defeated New Brighton 74-64, Ellis 79-54 and Winchester Thurston 100-32. The boys crushed New Brighton 118-37, Summit Academy 123-24 and Winchester Thurston 122-22.

Senior Jon Kaercher also set a new personal record. He placed first in discus, with the distance of 126 feet and 6.5 inches.

“The meets we have competed in have been successful, if not in winning, then with personal records,” Velemirovich said.

Keeping things positive, the boys track team has won the title of section champions for the third consecutive year. At the meet held on April 18, the team competed against Quaker Valley and Cornell.

The boys defeated Quaker Valley 93 to 53 and bested Cornell 146 to zero, earning the section championship title.

The girls lost to Quaker Valley 128 to 16, but conquered against Cornell 95 to three.

“We were hoping to go far and it’s been a whole team effort this year and Shep’s been such a big help over the years,” senior Alex Wagner said, who participates in pole vault.

With the season looking up, the team has high hopes of ending the season strong in May.