Track and Field 7th Annual Longhorn Stampede


South’s final meet of the season ended with excitement and good vibes. They worked hard all the way from start to finish for the team and always worked together.

Carmel Yonas, Opinions Editor & Senior Reporter

On March 7th, 2020, Forsyth county track teams prepared to run with the sun shining above them. Teams warmed up side by side and coaches talked with their runners before events started. Longhorn Stampede is widely known for going by very quickly, so most runners stayed focused and made sure to get a good stretch/stride in. As novice freshmen came onto the track, and veterans returned, it generated unexpected results for not only students themselves but the audience too. Cheering from the crowd got louder after each event, whether running or field.  As runners did their last minute preparations, some shook with anxiety while others felt energetic and ready to take off. 

Little did the teams know that this would be the final meet of the season. As saddening as it was, South seniors were most disappointed by the quick end of the season. Freshmen were just beginning and have a long road ahead of them to improve and become great, whereas juniors now hold the responsibility of being leaders next season. Athletes were only able to participate in the first three meets this year because the Covid pandemic necessitated shutting down schools and school related events. South’s team had no regrets and knew they worked hard throughout the season and in this meet as well. 

Boys 100 meter dash finished with Chris Nelson placing 1st (11.07). Three sprinters behind, his twin brother Josh Nelson (11.36) came in 4th, and just a place away finished senior Colby Cruz (11.36). In the next event, 200 meter dash, both Chris (22.90) and Josh (22.96) won 3rd and 4th place for the team. Being freshmen this year and already making a huge imprint is quite impressive. They both ran track in middle school and were widely known as one of the best sprinters. However, competition for the two brothers spiked to a completely different level this season putting on a real show. Each of their times came very close to one another, so it can be pretty perplexing who finishes first among them.

Chris says, “This year my competition was knowing that I had to face upperclassmen. I feel like I’ve improved a lot because I worked at practice and had a personal record (pr) every race. Running against Josh is a challenge sometimes, but no matter what we always find a way to encourage and cheer one another every race. My mentality during races is: I’m the fastest person in this meet and I’m going to show these people not to underestimate a freshman.”

Josh, on the other hand comments, “ The competition I faced was sometimes challenging and hard, unlike other times where it was easy and I felt confident. Throughout the season, I began to feel faster and saw myself improving every meet. My brother is a firm opponent and I love being able to run with him because it excites me knowing we push each other to be great. Before races, my mind circulates around one thing and forces me to never think otherwise: Just win.”

In the next event, 800 meter, many of South’s best runners landed a spot in the top 5. Senior Harrison Siegel (2:00.28)  placed 3rd overall and senior Mikey Patterson (2:00.53) finished 4th out of 30 runners. Harrison has been one of the leaders for South’s cross-country and track for 4 years, and was disappointed when his season ended out of the blue.

Siegel explains, “It took me a while to take in that track was done for the season. Hope got the best of me and when I realized championships weren’t happening, I was bummed. It’s definitely not how I envisioned my senior track season especially when me and my closest friends were going for so many records. A roller coaster of emotions is how I can describe this season. After I figured out that track was officially over, I knew that feeling pity for myself wasn’t going to do anything. So, I decided to put it behind me, be grateful for the memories I had, and continue to train. My advice to the rest of the team would be not to take high-school for granted. Role with the punches and preserve through the rough times, so you’ll come out a better person. God works in mysterious ways and the only thing you can do is sit back and let him work.”

The next race is notorious for causing mixed emotions to most runners, the 1600 meter. For this event, Mikey Patterson (4:26) landed himself a spot in the top 5, placing 3rd. Patterson is another one of the leaders at South and commented on the abrupt end to the track season. 

“It’s really disappointing that we didn’t get to finish the season especially because everybody seemed to be doing so well. We all trained so hard because we wanted to finish off on a high note. It’s unfortunate that it ended but I have a lot to look forward to. I’ve been very motivated this season especially since I was injured during cross-country. I wanted to finish my high school career strong and try to get some school records. My advice would be to keep working hard even though it would be easy to slack off right now.”

Hurdles aren’t for everyone, but they are for senior Connor Cole (15.27). He finished 1st in the 110 meter and won 1st running the 300 meter hurdle as well (42.01). Four spots away in the 110 meter hurdle junior Brendan Neubert (16.40) placed 5th. 

In the 4×100 meter relay and 4×400, South found themselves ranked 2nd out of 10 schools. Furthermore, they placed 3rd in the 4×800. The Long jump resulted in Colby Cruz taking 2nd place (19-09.00) for the team. Cruz was the only South athlete to place in the top 5 for this event. Josh Nelson finished 2nd (40-00.00) in Triple Jump out of 17 students.

The girls competed equally as well. Senior Madelynne Cadeau placed 1st (2:19) and senior Sophia Baker placed 3rd (2:25) overall in the 800. Cadeau is one of fastest girl runners at South, but it didn’t come easily. She’s trained very hard throughout cross-country and track, so for her final season to be taken away took time to process. 

Cadeau says, “At first I was very optimistic that the quarantine would pass, but as time went on I began to realize that the situation was a lot more serious and that more than likely I wouldn’t be racing again for South. It definitely makes me really upset, but I’m looking forward to college running. I feel like my mentality throughout the season has still been fairly positive. I’m just trusting that all my work is going towards something whether it’s now or in the future. Advice for the rest of the team would be to just have fun with it and enjoy the process. Trust your hard work and know the results will come if you believe in yourself. If you aren’t passionate about it and you are not enjoying it, then it’s not worth it.”

 The 800 passes as the 1600 begins. Sophia Baker finished 2nd (5:18) only 2 seconds away from 1st place. She is also one of the fastest girls at South and worked hard to achieve the goals she had in mind once track started. Unfortunately, just like all seniors, Sophia was devastated when she heard the news that track was officially cancelled for the season.

“It was sad having my senior year and track season end so soon. I had so many goals for the season that I didn’t get the chance to compete but I just keep reminding myself that the best is yet to come. My mentality throughout the season was to stay patient and trust the process. My advice to the rest of the team would be to have fun with the sport. Enjoy every opportunity it gives you and embrace it.”

Next, came the 3200 meter which not many people desire to run on the track. Freshman Carmel Yonas was the only South runner for this event and placed 4th (12:08). In the 4×400, South’s girls finished 3rd from 11 teams and in the 4×800 they placed 4th out of 5 teams.  Sophomore Kenzie Stewart stole 3rd place in the girls Discus and Riley Jones, a sophomore too, finished 4th in Long Jump (14-11.50) and Pole Vault (8-06.00). Riley trained not just this season, but all year, waiting for the championships to arrive in April. She was determined not only to make it to the championships, but to place as well.

Jones comments, “My strategy before events is to think through my event and about everything I have to do during the race or jump. I run an 800 warm up, stretch a lot, and make sure I’m all warm before my event begins, especially if It’s cold out. For pole vault, I’ll add in pole drills to get ready. I was very upset because I had been training all year and was hoping to go to state and place.”

Track was not how everyone expected the season to unravel, but it did show that the coaches care for their runners and field event athletes enough that they had to enforce the despairing news. All the grade levels were affected, however the seniors were the most disturbed. Each and every one’s final season is no longer an option to compete in. Anyways, even though South wasn’t able to attend any regional or state competitions, they ended track with splendid results from the boys and girls in this meet and previous races.