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The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

Complications of cosmetic consumerism

Improve as a unit, triumph as an individual

The track and field team stands united as they perfect every detail in their quest for state.
Joey Matsuzawa
Junior Robin Takami prepares to take off from the blocks during the 100m event. He finished with a time of 12.68 seconds to place 15th at the jamboree on March 19.

It is easy to be overwhelmed when watching the whirlwind of activity at a track and field meet. There are so many events occurring all at once, and an even greater number of athletes pushing themselves to the limit.

Even though large crowds make it difficult for the individual to stand out, it only serves as motivation to work hard to improve. Each event requires an immense amount of preparation and meticulous attention to detail, so athletes see their teammates as supporters as well as friendly rivals.

“It is not like it is a cutthroat competition,” sophomore Etta Moen said. “You are friends with everyone in your group and you push each other to get better.”

The entire team is split up into three smaller groupings labeled as “distance,” “artillery” and “sprints/jumps.” There is a set of coaches for each, which makes it easier to focus on specific events, their requisite skills and techniques.

Since many were also members on the cross-country team in the fall, the distance group has maintained the same camaraderie that made them successfull. Practices are either focused on building stamina or improving closing speeds. But, the most important part is the togetherness in their approach.

“We definitely do a lot of team-bonding activities and injury prevention exercises together,” sophomore Amanda Cunningham said.

Elsewhere on the track, artillery, consisting of about 25 athletes competing in four throwing events: discus, javelin, shot put and hammer throw. However, they require more technique than what is noticed at first glance.

“A lot of people think you have to be really strong to throw, but you do not have to be all strength and muscles,” junior Ruby Charney said.

Every member of artillery shares this sentiment, as they all want to be more efficient with their power. While weight-lifting is undoubtedly important and beneficial to building strength in general, simply focusing on building one’s muscle mass will be detrimental to their actual results during a meet. Most of practice is dedicated to refining technique.

“To become the very best, you have to be loose in the arms and have that explosiveness in your hips,” senior Michael Milcarek said. “Rather than just having a high bench press, you need to quickly get from point A to point B in as short a time as possible.”

The remaining athletes are the sprinters and jumpers. They compete in a wide variety of events, including short-track, hurdles, high jump, long jump, triple jump and pole vault. These are typically the crowd favorites, and are more reliant on athletic ability than other events.

“Definitely some natural talent is required, some people can just jump farther or run faster than others,” senior Anna Richards said. “It still requires a work ethic so you need to balance the two.”

With around 50 athletes fighting for a limited number of spots, they will find themselves standing against one another. This is why they value their off-the-track friendship so much.

“We have the ability to take off the competitive side and really just be ourselves,” senior Jacob Burdge said. “Although we compete on the track we are all friends and we know that we are not trying to insult each other.”

There are so many minute details that can be the difference of a tenth of a second or a fraction of an inch. Maybe a runner slightly hesitates on the block, a hurdler is forced to take an extra half-step or there is trouble sticking a landing at the end of the jump. Even factors beyond the athlete’s control, such as rain, can affect performance.

“There is a lot going through your mind because you have to get so many things right in a short amount of time,” sophomore Mitchell Yonemitsu said. “It is chaos and you have to calm yourself before the jump.”

Friendly competition and emphasis on technique carry over through all events and are the keys to success this season. The number of athletes only serves as a source of motivation and support.

“The greatest thing is when everyone is trying to make state,” Burdge said. “Because then you know everyone is competing, trying to get better. Everyone wants the same thing.”

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Improve as a unit, triumph as an individual