Change of speed

Young track team finds brotherhood at initial meets


Mary Souther

Sophomore Noel Carroll passes the baton to junior John Rudolph at a rainy first meet of the season. Photos courtesy of Mary Souther

With only three meets completed as of March 9, the track season is still very young. As is the track team itself.

“Usually we’ve had a bunch of seniors leading us,” junior captain Stormie Hartnett said. “This year is different; the underclassmen have had to step it up and take it seriously.”

Hartnett started sprinting in the Decatur track program in 6th grade at Renfroe, but most of the team is relatively new to the sport, according to coach Mary Souther.  Souther doesn’t think the team’s youth has affected their success.

“I think everybody gets along really well, there hasn’t been any conflict, and the freshmen are doing great,” Souther said.

While many are new to the sport of track and field, many athletes aren’t new to running itself, including freshman speedster Eoin McNally.

“Some of the practices are really hard because I’m not used to the speed intervals and stuff that we do,” McNally said. “[As a cross country runner] I’m used to running long distance.”  To get past this, McNally said with a laugh, “I think about how much more I have left and I think to myself that after that I get to go home.”

At one of those difficult practices before the first meet, senior Jaedin Hayes visited the team with words of inspiration. Hayes injured herself last season, putting her out of both of her junior and senior seasons.

“She really hyped us up and gave us a lot of wisdom,” Hartnett said. “It was great to see that she had been doing better, but also for someone who was so fast and had everything taken away, still coming and supporting us.”

When the first meet itself rolled around on February 10, the team settled in, according to Hartnett. The girls team finished third overall, and the boys finished second. Athletic highlights included captain Sam Amick winning both the 1600 and the 3200, and the girls 4×100 relay setting a personal record at 50.45 seconds, but for Hartnett, the real victory was the team bonds she saw formed.

“Even people you’ve never seen talk, they always support each other at the meets and that shows a lot because we want people on the team that have your back,” Hartnett said.

Outside of racing, the track team still faces issues with training time. They often have to cut practice at Avondale Stadium short due to soccer games.

“It affects the extras, like the long jump and the hurdle the most, because they can’t get a workout in and work on their specialties,” Souther said.

“I want to leave knowing that people did get stronger from the seasons and they really did reach their individual goals,” Hartnett said.

Click here to view meet results.