On-track athletes benefit life skills and health

Rayne Branch, Sports Editor

A new season has just begun as winter gives way to warmer temperatures, and the Lady Bengals prepare to take flight onto new challenges.

Coach Cari Mills said, “Track is a way of life for me. It taught me to  hurdle over obstacles in my life, run the distance, and sprint towards my goals.”

In addition to showcasing an athlete’s skills of speed and agility, track provides a way to make lifelong friends and unlock opportunities.

Senior Mazie Gierat said, “It’s a really good environment to be in; you have a lot of support.”

At the March 7 Mustang Relay Meet, three teams competed and placed second which ranks the team third in state so far. The athletes described the season as a success.

Junior Lily Anderson said, “It’s a way to clear my head, to zone out and yet still be productive.”

Many runners joined for a shared love and appreciation for the sport and as a way to stay in shape and challenge their overall abilities and athleticism.

“It’s the runners who try the hardest that go far,” Anderson said. “Talent can only get you so far,” Anderson said.

Besides individual goals, track is a team sport with events ranging from sprint, middle distance, hurdle, and steeplechase events.

  While running may challenge athletes, many say they have developed a love for the sport.

“Don’t like running? Okay that’s fine, you can try jumps or throws. Don’t think you have enough speed? That’s okay, you might be amazing at mid or long distance,” Anderson said.

“The worst thing that could happen is that you don’t like it, and if that happens then at least you got the experience,” Anderson said.

Over the last few years, track has become more popular among high school students who wish to continue in college, according to www.athletic scholarships.net.

Gierat said, “I’m talking to a few schools [about track in college] right now, so we’ll see.”

Mills said she helps runners improve their self-esteem by correcting mistakes and maximizing their overall performance. “It’s not always about times and distances. Mostly, it’s about the human spirit,” Mills said.

“When we were toddlers running away from our mom and dads, we already learned to run. So we just have to go back to our little child and say, ‘I can do this,’” Mills said.

“I’m really proud of the girls,” Mills said.

“Track is a way of life, to see how great you are and how great you can do,” Mills said.

Anderson said, “There is always something going on;  the minute a race ends, a new one begins.”

The Lady Bengals will compete against Plainfield North from 4 P.M. to 7 P.M. on March 26.