The Harding girls track and field team competed in the HVAC finals meet at FRA on Wednesday, April 28. The girl's relays competed well, basically tying a season best in the 4x100. As there was a significant amount of rain on the track, any race that required sprinting around a curve was affected. Thus, the 4x200 team did not set a season best, but was not far off considering the conditions. Each of these relay teams were led off by a 6th grader, who herself had missed significant practice time this season, but was ready to take on the challenge.
We thank Elliana Galentino (the valiant 6th grader) for stepping up to the challenge of running both relays, but also leading them off. On an additional note about these sprint relays (and sprints, in general), if one takes a look at the final results, it can clearly be seen that nearly every runner in the top-8 is an 8th-grader. This hold true for both boys and girls. Thus, the relays follow suit. We had no 8th-grade sprinters competing yesterday. Thus, all of the members of each of these relay teams will be back next year, bigger, stronger, with more experience, and wearing track spikes. I expect big things. As for the non-sprint events, Maia McCourt set ANOTHER personal best by running 3:00 flat for the 800-meters. Had they had a visible clock for runners to view as they came down the straightaway, I am sure Maia would have run at least a 2:58. This personal best comes on the heels of Maia setting a personal best in the 400-meters on Monday.
The 4x400 team was a mix of two 7th-graders and two veteran 8th-graders. Leah Fremontshould be applauded for putting aside her usual race distances of 100- and 200-meters, to assist her team in running the 4x400. She led off the race and set a personal best time of 79-seconds. Caroline Thomasran well as the 2nd leg, while Katherine Thomas and Maia McCourt finished out their HA careers by running the 3rd and 4th legs. These girls set a season-best time for HA, in the last race of the season.
Katherine Thomas and Maia McCourt have ended their athletic careers at HA and followed through on their commitment all the way to the end. It can be easy for 8th-graders to simply "tap out" toward the end of the season, especially when they are not expected to challenge for a medal. However, neither of these girls even hinted at such a thing. We were so thankful to have a seaon and be able to compete!
Boys Track and Field Competes in HVAC Finals Meet to End Season
On April 30, the Harding boys competed at MBA in the finals of the HVAC meet. All boys relays (4x800, 4x200, 4x100, and 4x400) set season best times by a significant amount.
4x800 (11:20.54 seconds)
4x200 (1:54.06 seconds)
4x100 (55.83 seconds)
4x400 (4:57.93 seconds)
Other highlights included Charlie Hirschman running ANOTHER personal best in the 800-meters (2:50.46). In addition, Spencer Rogers and Bennett Paddon put away their fears and ran the 800-meters for the first time in a meet. Each ran better than they expected, while running 3:25.09 and 3:27.39, respectively. Each of these 6th graders have lots of growing to do, but exhibited lots of heart and determination in their first season of track. We also said goodbye to many 8th-graders. Athletes Bernardo Barbalat and Rowen Beaulieu competed all three-years of their HA career and ran great on Friday. Bernardo B. even ran a personal best 100-meter relay leg of 12.90 seconds in the 4x100. We missed one of our other 3rd-year 8th-graders in Max Boylen, who continued to prepare intensely for the school musical. Will Glover is also a three-year competitor and ran a personal best in 400-meters for the 4x400 relay team. Other 8th-graders running their final race included Fuller Hessel and Ethan Oakley who ran at or near personal bests in their legs of the 4x200 and 4x100 relays.
Overall, this was a good season because nearly every one of our athletes stayed healthy, and we only had a handful who had to miss one meet due to quarantine-related safety measures. Therein, any meet we could compete in, was a good meet. The fact that every single athlete on the team set a personal best at nearly every meet, is just icing on the cake. The boy's team will have a huge reset due to the number of 8th-graders moving on, but there are a handful of 6th and 7th-graders with solid experience under their belt who can help lead the charge.
Throwing Finals and Running Prelim Results at the HVAC Meet Finals for Harding Boys Track and Field
The HA boys competed in the field events and preliminary round of the HVAC track meet on Tuesday, April 27 at Montgomery Bell Academy. Fuller Hessel returned to competition and set a personal best in the 100 and 200-meter races...into a headwind. Unfortunately for us, Fuller is moving on to high school. Ethan Oakley and Brian Tierney also ran the 200-meters and both would have likely set personal bests if not for the headwind. Rowen Beaulieu set a personal best in the 100-meters....into a headwind. Quincy Topping set a personal best in the 400-meters, with the wind maybe being the strongest during his heat of the 400-meters. Quincy also set a 1.5-second (which is big) personal best (20.63) in the 110-hurdles. Again, this was straight into a headwind, so he would have broken 20-seconds, if not for the wind. Finally, Quincy also set a 2.5-inch personal best in the long jump (13'10"). Jackson Husbands set a big personal best in the 400-meters, breaking 70-seconds for the first time (67.48).
All of the boy's discus throwers set personal bests (Bernardo Barbalet, Rowen Beaulieu, Henry Gatto). Spencer Rogers and Bennet Paddon both set personal bests in the shot put throw. Finally, there once was a famous (now disgraced) pro cyclist who wrote a book called "every second counts." Well, in some cases, every 100th of a second counts. Henry Gatto ran Harding Academy's most competitive race of the day. It was so competitive that Henry missed out on making the 110-hurdle finals by 100th of a second...yes...as in 0.01-seconds. Henry deserved to be in the finals and to be so close was a tough pill to swallow. So, though the boys did not have anyone make the finals, nearly everyone had a personal best, which is what we seek for the final meet of the season. Witt Maxwell also competed in the 110 hurdles on day #1 and in the 800-meters on day #2 for the Hawks.
Girls Field Event and Prelim Results from Day 1 of the HVAC Track Meet Finals
On the first day of competition at the HVAC track meet, Harding had 3 girls finish in the top-8, which means they score points for the team. Top-8 is essentially similar to an "all-conference" recognition. Sarah Hackett finished 4th in the high jump.Emily McKay finished 8th in the shot put. Maddie Yeatman finished 6th in the discus throw. We also had one of our better overall competitors out due to her all school musical commitment in Dylan Anderson. Ideally, the kids peak at the conference meet and most kids were able to. The fictional "athlete of the day" award goes to Emily McKay. Emily performed well, but it was her dedication that earned her this nod. Emily McKay set a personal best in the discus throw (57'1") even though she had to rush through 4 straight throws with no rest. Emily's best throw of the season in the shot put (30'4") would have placed her 4th in this meet. When you consider that Emily has only competed in 3-meets in her life and was maybe able to attend practice twice a week this semester, her accomplishments are even more amazing. We applaud Emily for thinking of the team and still competing.
Mavis Blue Sartin set a personal best in the shot put (26') and Maddie Yeatman set a personal best in the discus (63'6"). Caroline Thomas nearly beat her personal best in the discus (51'4"). Maia McCourt set a personal best in the 400-meters (75.47) and Ellery Cook was right on her personal best (73.20) set less than a week ago. Sarah Hackett set a personal best in the girl's 200-meters (30.94) and should finish in the top-8 next year. It is very likely Sarah would have made the finals in the girl's 100-meter dash but not for a bad start to the race. As it were, Sarah's best 100-meter time this year would have placed her in the top-5 yesterday. Charlotte Mikos was expected to make the finals of the 100-meter hurdles but also experienced a bad start and was also bumped during the race (it happens sometimes in the hurdles). Thus, she just missed out on making the finals. She did bounce back and have a personal best in the 200-meters (31.82) even though she again had a bad start. Unfortunately, 8th grader Sarah Brothers was unable to participate in the meet. We will miss our 8th grade track and field athletes next year!
I want to give a special shout-out to Caroline Thomas, Elliana Galentino, and Leah Fremont. These three 7th-graders (along with a few others) are the sunshine of the team on most days. They have yet to hit their athletic peaks, yet they compete like experienced champs each week and do not back down from a challenge (none of our girl's do, but these 3 really set the standard). They are attentive to instruction, and compete with an attitude of excitement and smile on their face.