Field competitors give their all

Field events provide unique challenges


Ava Ashby

Senior Ezra Hudson participates in the 100-meter hurdles April 26. Park’s next meet is 4:00 p.m. May 2 at Chanhassen High School.

While track and field usually brings sprinting to mind, there’s more to the sport than just running. Park also competes in discus, shot put, hurdles and jumps. Senior Giulia Ruffoli said her favorite event is hurdles because they make her feel confident in herself.

“100 hurdles (is my favorite),” Ruffoli said. “When I do hurdles, I feel good.”

Sophomore Zeke Rischall said the guidance he gets from his coaches during practice contributes greatly to his performance on the field. 

“We have to spend a lot of time working on how we run. The triple jump is really technical, so they really helped us with drills,” Rischall said. “Some days we work on landing, some days we work on jumping, some days we just work on getting more power.”

The most important thing is that we work hard, we play hard, but we have fun.

— Kelson Mackenzie

Although cold weather conditions increased the difficulty for the athletes during the meet April 26 at Benilde, boys’ head coach Kelson Mackenzie said that regardless of the outcome, it’s important the athletes try their best.

“It’s always about the effort kids are putting out,” Mackenzie said. “I try to preach that the most important thing is that we work hard, we play hard, but we have fun, and the best anybody can ask for to come to you on a given day is your very best.”

Ruffoli said hurtling is more difficult than simply running because it requires more concentration and distinct training.

“It’s more distressing because you have to think about going over the hurdles and not just running (while) going as fast as you can,” Ruffoli said. “You have to count your steps (and) you have to prepare differently.”

Rischall said he enjoyed the triple jump, despite difficulties due to poor track quality.

“(The meet) wasn’t that great. Benilde has a really weird track,” Rischall said. “(Triple jump) was fun and they needed more people.”

Cold weather greatly affects track athletes because, according to Ruffoli, competing in the cold requires a different mindset.

“The meet went good, but not as good as the last meet. Today is cold, so it’s different mentally,” Ruffoli said. “When I feel (mentally) prepared, it’s better.”

Mackenzie said that at the end of the day, he hopes the athletes walk away proud of themselves. 

“My biggest hope is always that kids have a great experience and that they walk away from the season feeling like they have accomplished something and feeling like they have learned something for life,” Mackenzie said.

Park’s next meet will be for girls’ JV and is at 4 p.m. May 2 at Chanhassen High School.