Sports / The Prairie Fire / April 26, 2017

Track and Field prepares for Conference

Senior thrower Jacob Paul practices his toss during a practice on April 6. Paul will look to help the Track and Field team reach new heights at the Midwest Conference Championship tournament. (Dan Perez/TKS)

 

The Knox Track and Field team continues moving forward in their season, slowly approaching the Conference tournament.

Building on a strong indoor season that saw much success and improvement for the program on all levels, expectations have been high from the start of Spring Term.

Due to the fact that the Women’s team seems to be deeper than in recent years and the presence of more seniors than usual, these goals seem to be quite attainable to senior thrower Jacob Paul.

However, while he feels confident about the team’s progress, Paul is staying focused on the Conference tournament.

“Conference is the only meet that really matters, so that’s been what we’ve been building and working up to,” Paul said.

The sense of urgency, Paul said, is always higher once the team moves outside for its main season.

“Indoor season is just dreary all the time no matter what, but we still try to have fun. It’s nothing [compared] to outdoor season, though. We have the sun, can play music, it’s better for everyone,” Paul said.

The better atmosphere has not changed the team’s goals, as Paul states the goal for the throwers are “to just throw as far as we can as a group.”

Though the Women’s team has fewer throwers, they do have more experience than their Men’s team counterparts.

Senior Jessica Fritts acknowledges this dynamic, saying, “Typically in my time at Knox I haven’t had a strong Women’s team in numbers. People come and they go a lot on the Women’s side, but it has been great getting to consistently throw with [sophomore] Alice Lee for two years and watch her and [sophomore] Taliah Ellis grow.”

Fritts has high expectations for the two even after she graduates.

“They’re never satisfied, and they’ve made huge strides already. And I know they are both going to do great things at Knox,” Fritts said.

Junior Naja Woods (in pink) runs with sophomores Taliah Ellis (in green), Val Varanese (in black on right) and Rose Unger (background) during a Track and Field practice on April 6. Woods, Ellis, Unger and Varanese will look to help the Women’s team succeed in the rest of their conference meets. (Dan Perez/TKS)

The excitement Fritts feels extends to all sections of the Women’s team.

“We are getting people to push each other more than I have seen before. We are getting more numbers, which is making people more competitive and driving everyone,” Fritts said.

Freshman sprinter and hurdler Michaela Kowalewski has seen a lot of growth from the Women’s team since moving to outdoor season, as the team has had to step up quite a bit.

“It’s funny going from indoor where the Men’s team had so many go out and here we are the only four lady sprinters who can’t run relays or have alternates. But that change has been good, we’ve actually been able to run relays and the experience is really great for the girls,” Kowalewski said.

Kowalewski also cites the fact that the Women’s team retains all of their Fall Term athletes into spring season as a strong reason for their impressive performance.

Though the number of participants on the team may have changed from a year ago, sophomore Malik Hamilton still thinks the goal remains the same.

“We have been feeding off each other and keeping ourselves moving forward. It might be different than last year [in numbers], but we are still on the right path to succeeding a lot more,” Hamilton said.

The Men’s sprinting roster has thinned quite a bit this term, as juniors Martwain Holmes and Shadrack Ofori-Boadi and sophomore Alec Auston are not participating in Track this term.

“They were people who actually ran with us competitively in practice and had a huge impact on us,” Hamilton said, which has left the group smaller than usual.

Even still, Hamilton is confident in the Men’s team’s chances.

“We should have top five at conference soon. Very soon,” Hamilton said.

While these expectations and goals would have seemed exaggerated in past years, this year’s Track and Field team features a solid mix of experience and skill that has been lacking in past year’s for the program.

The team hopes that this combination will help carry the team to a strong Midwest Conference performance on May 12 and 13.

 

Tyler Price

Tags:  alec auston alice lee jacob paul jessica fritts knox track and field malik hamilton martwain holmes michaela kowalewski naja woods rose unger shadrack ofori-boadi taliah ellis track and field val varanese

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