Track competes in first outdoor meet of season

Large turnout motivates runners


Ava Ashby

Junior James Hager competes in the 100-meter hurdles April 11. Park’s next meet is 3 p.m. April 11 at Armstrong High School.

Amongst a mass of people congregated around a small track, freshman Autumn Walberg said her first outdoor race was exciting because of the energy the crowd brought.

“It’s a quad meet so there are four schools competing. There’s over 600 people competing. There’s a lot more people than usual,” Walberg said. “I’m excited to see what happens.”

The meet took place April 11 at Jefferson High School. Park boys’ varsity placed second overall and girls’ varsity placed fourth overall. Junior Nadia Kovalchuk said many members of the team did better than anticipated. 

“(The meet) was really good,” Kovalchuk said. “A lot of people did a lot better than they thought they were going to do.”

Coach Chris Nordstrom said he especially enjoyed when new members raced better than expected.

“Watching our first-timers go out and compete was my favorite part. There were a lot of kids that were super nervous, but after they competed, they had smiles on their faces,” Nordstrom said. “As a coach, it’s nice to have my new kids have a positive experience.”

According to freshman Miles Johnson, running in a race is more stressful than running in practice, but racing is also more motivating.

“Practice is less competitive,” Johnson said. “Running in a race is definitely more nerve-wracking, but also you have people around you running the same thing who know what you’re going through. Racing also helps you push to try to catch up to people in front of you and run faster.”

According to Kovalchuk, the team spent the day encouraging each other to stay motivated.

“People were cheering each other on all the time,” Kovalchuk said. “Throughout the day, people were supporting each other, giving each other courage and saying, ‘you’re going to do great.’”

Johnson said his favorite moment of the meet was supporting his friend while he ran a difficult race.

“When my friend was running the four by eight hundred, which is really far, they got second, which is really good,” Johnson said. “That was my favorite part.”

There were a lot of kids that were super nervous, but after they competed, they had smiles on their faces.

— Chris Nordstrom

According to Nordstrom, the outcome of this meet allows him to understand the team better and to personalize practice according to individual needs.

“Now that we know the kids’ times, we’re able to do more individual specific stuff with the things we need to work on,” Nordstrom said. “Being able to see all our kids compete, as a coaching staff, we’re now able to tap into some of the things that will help our kids continue to improve.”

Kovalchuk said she hopes her teammates continue to support each other and to refine their skills.

“(I hope) the team keeps cheering each other on, improving and smashing its records,” Kovalchuk said.

Park’s next meet is 3 p.m. April 15 at Armstrong High School.