The track and field teams have both had dynamic seasons thus far, and have yet to begin their outdoor competition. After competing in four meets so far in the 2018 season, the men and women have proven to be ready for the challenges to come.
At their first meet at the University of Chicago, the teams picked up 13 top five finishes. The women earned fourth overall out of five teams, the men took third out of five teams.
Freshman Karah Polk has made some notable strides for the Fire. She finished in second on the 60m hurdles with a time of 9.55 at UChicago and most notably a first place finish in the 60m hurdles with a time of 9.39 when competing against Monmouth.
Polk says she is injured right now because of a few small strains and, but remains a committed teammate. She has been passionate and interested in running since she was in second grade, but didn’t begin competing until seventh grade.
Another standout for the women is freshman Rebekah Alexandre. She competes in the 400m and 200m dash. Some notable finishes were her 1:04.86 finish in the 400m at UChicago, earning her third place and a first place finish with a time of 1:04.40 at Monmouth.
Alexandre says running at Knox is especially different for her this season because in her hometown of Miami, Fl., there is no indoor season.
The main focus for the Fire is staying healthy and preparing for a qualifier next month.
“Next month is the qualifying meet for indoor Nationals hosted in Alabama,” Polk said. “Our team is staying focused and positive as we put forth maximum effort into practice. We are a family and we take advantage of that title by always supporting one another as well as motivating each other to get better, stronger, and more importantly, faster.”
Polk competed at a high level in her high school years, running at the state meet for class 2A for Rich Central located in Olympia Fields, Ill., but has seen the camaraderie and “real-team” feel since being at Knox.
The motto of the track team this year is, “one team, one dream.” As described by Polk, even though track is an individual sport and has many individual events, the overall score and outcome is a team effort.
Senior James Egan is excited for this season in terms of the team’s recruitment. This year, track and field brought in new jumpers and pole vaulters.
Egan believes the team is much more unified this year and is excited for the future.
“This is the strongest start to a season I’ve seen so far. A lot of younger runners have already made some of the top 10 performances in Knox’s history for their event,” Egan said.
Polk agrees, saying that the unification of the team has been key to their success. She believes focusing and staying driven for the qualifier will be important.
“As a team of different cultures and personalities, we share one vision Ñ qualifying for nationals and making a statement about Knox,” Polk said.
She also added that the authenticity of her teammates is something very special.
“This team is united, gathered and authentic. We aren’t just students who decided to join a track team, we are a bond that strengthens the backbone of this sport,” Polk said.
Egan explains the excitement of the season, with individuals competing at a higher level than ever.
“The season is getting pretty exciting so far. Our team is already making a lot of strides pretty early on,” Egan said. “We are getting very close to beating our team’s records for the Distance Medley Relay and the 4x400m relay. We’ve had more and more people consistently winning their individual heats as well.”
Egan has been running since his freshman year of high school, nearly eight years ago. However, after returning from being abroad, he was concerned that he would do badly in practice.
“I have been a sprinter for the last few years and have runs events like the 400 meter dash and the 200 meter dash. However, this year I’ve been put in an almost completely different event group,” Egan said. “Right now I’m running mid distance, so I was actually kind of nervous when the season started because I had never run an event like the 800 before. Weirdly enough I’ve been ‘personal-recording’ consistently in it since the season started and I was surprised by how much fun it was.”
Egan said that his offseason routine helps his competition in the winter and spring.
“Generally I’ve found that really mixing up and playing with different workouts helps a lot during the off season, especially if you are in a bunch of different event groups,” Egan said.
Polk believes the secret to team success is staying unified and supportive of one another. She explained that everyone has an influence on the team.
“When one of us succeeds, we all do.” Polk said.
The team is training more rigorously for conference and preparing for higher levels of competition. Track and field will travel to Monmouth College on Feb. 10 for their next competition.