Sticks & frisbees: Viking track and field athletes


Natalie Dion

Freshman JayJay Maclean poses to throw a javelin at a practice on April 4.

Siqi Li and Natalie Dion

Track and field has been a highly successful sport at Inglemoor since the school was built in 1965. And it remains so, despite two years of canceled meets due to COVID-19. The large team meets every weekday for practices, during which they split off into groups to practice their events. These events include sprinting, hurdling, discus throwing, long jumping, javelin throwing, relay racing, shot-putting, triple jumping, long distance running, pole vaulting and high jumping.

In discus throwing, athletes compete to throw a weighted metal disc the farthest down a long field. Sophomore Carter Loutsis said discus throwing is like throwing a frisbee, but heavier. His teammate, junior Detric Riley, also does discus, as well as many other events.

“It’s not crazy heavy, but it’s still sort of heavy. It’s not like it’s easy or anything,’’ said Riley.

Riley has been a part of track and field since his sophomore year, with his main events being discus throwing and javelin throwing. Javelin throwing is when athletes run to gain momentum before throwing a 7-9 foot javelin, a stick with pointed end, in the air, trying to throw it a greater distance than their competitors. Freshman JayJay Maclean, who does both discus and javelin, said she likes the form and technique involved with javelin throwing.

“[In throwing sports] it all comes down to muscular strength and how much you can handle, especially in the arms,” Maclean said.

Riley agrees that strength is a big part of javelin, but points out that people with less muscular strength can also be good at it.

“You’ll see some little dudes all throw really far just because they have perfect technique,” said Riley. “Overall, you’re still just throwing a stick.”

Senior Riley Heike said an athlete’s level of success in high jump and pole vault comes down to technique as well. He said core strength, flexibility, and athleticism are important but technique is the biggest factor. In pole vault, a competitor takes a running start, sticks a pole into the ground and uses it to launch themself over the highest bar possible. Heike’s current record for pole vault is 10 feet even.

“For high jump, it’s a mix of how high you can jump and how well you can kind of arch your back over the bar and have the technique down to do it consistently every time,” Heike said.

Heike started these events after participating in other aspects of track and field and playing basketball.

“I’ve always liked doing track, and I’ve been a pretty decent running athlete,” said Heike.

Going to high jump after basketball was a natural transition for him due to his experience with jumping. And during his sophomore year, Heike noticed that there weren’t any pole vaulters on the team. He decided to try it out despite the possibility of injury and has stuck with the event ever since.

“With pole vault, you kind of have to mentally prepare yourself and go for it,” said Heike. He stressed that as long as a pole vaulter is prepared and focused, it’s hard for something to go completely wrong.

Despite 2022 being her first year on the track and field team, Maclean isn’t letting anything hold her back.

“To be honest, I feel like fear is never the way to go about things,” said Maclean. “At least I try not to think about it.”