With qualifying standards the norm for the rest of the track and field season, the Edgemont Panthers sent seven boys and seven girls to the Westchester County Championships. Despite the small representation, the dedicated bunch is still making great strides to improve.
Of the 14 attending, half of them were able to set personal records. “I was very proud of the team,” coach Nikki Rosee said. “We had several PRs. It really shows the effort that has been put in during practice.”
Among the record-setters were Devin Frank in the 600-meter, Dimitar Peev with his seventh PR this season in the 55-meter hurdles and both Tiana Guo and Mahady Demeble in the 55-meter dash.
There were many different aspects of training that has helped for this last bit of improvement.
Nora Butler placed 17th of 51 in the 1,000-meter, topping her previous time during the league championships meet by seven seconds. “The days we have been in the weight room these last few weeks have been especially useful in helping me improve,” Butler said. “I’ve never realized how important some muscle groups are for running until I started working on them.”
During practices, Dhatri Sangasani has also been greatly improving, but she found it was for a different reason. In the past, there hasn’t been much time for jumpers to practice their steps or form, especially in the winter where it’s difficult to open the pit. The coaches, however, have been making the effort to set up mats and different exercises in the gym to keep the jumpers fully engaged.
“The coaches are most of the reason why I’m doing better this season,” Sangasani said. “They make certain days focused toward specific events, which helps me focus solely on that event, and they give really good feedback.”
At counties, Sangasani jumped 31 feet, 9.25 inches in the triple jump, placing eighth of 17. This was another personal best, beating last year’s record by 4 feet.
Even though it was mainly juniors and seniors qualifying for the meet, freshman Alexander Ashcraft also accompanied the team. After hearing that one of the 4x800-meter relay runners was going to be missing, Ashcraft stepped up so the relay team could still compete.
“I felt pretty nervous,” he said. “I had never really done any relays before and had no previous practice with it in varsity.”
Additionally, it was his first time running the 800, so he didn’t know what to expect. At the end of the day, Ashcraft decided the race wasn’t all that bad, and the “ladders that we do during practice helped the most,” as this workout pushes athletes to work on both endurance and speed since they have to run a series of distances. Overall, he finished in 2:36, but his efforts had earned him Athlete of the Week.
Lastly, athletes noticed that as the season has been winding down, the workouts have become more tolerable. While it may seem strange to slow down before the important and upcoming meets, these calmer practices are just as productive.
“The team has been working hard all season,” Rosee said. “Now that we are in the home stretch it’s important for the team to recognize that they are trained. Also, many of the athletes on the team have been experiencing some pain. An important rule of thumb is to always listen to your body. We still have hard workouts, but in this case less is more.”
Tiana Guo, who was one of the injured athletes, said, “I think these practices have been helping because we’re still keeping in shape and I’m not exerting myself before meets. It also gives us the much needed time to recover.”
All the momentum that the Panthers have made throughout the season is finally paying off and is helping them get through these last few meets. All that’s left are the Class B Championships and potentially state qualifiers.
The season might be slowing down, but Edgemont’s times are not.