SFHS Track and Field Line up at the Start of Their Season

Track+and+Field.+Junior+Carmel+Yonas+races+against+her+opponents+in+the+3200.+On+March+6th%2C+2021%2C+South+competed+in+the+8th+Annual+Longhorn+Stampede.

Used with permission from Sara Aylay

Track and Field. Junior Carmel Yonas races against her opponents in the 3200. On March 6th, 2021, South competed in the 8th Annual Longhorn Stampede.

Carmel Yonas, Opinions Editor and Sports Editor

From pasta dinners and early bus rides to pole vaulting and late-night meets, the Track and Field season finally begins. Runners and field event participants get back on the grind of routine and coaches make formal introductions to new and unfamiliar changes within the track events.

Among the various groups in track, there are not many distance runners, veterans and freshmen, compared to the sprinters or field event participants.

Distance consists of the 1600 (1 mile) and the 3200 (2 miles) while sprinting consists of the 100, 200, 400, etc; mid-distance includes the 400 and 800, which are arguably one of the most difficult races to excel in.

Typically, students who competed in Cross-Country race in the distance events and relays while students not involved in Cross-Country come out for sprinting, sprinting relays, hurdling, throwing, and other events.

Overall, South remains a well-known school for its Track and Field accolades and star competitors. Senior Nate Verska, Junior Ben Bergey, Junior Carmel Yonas, and Sophomore Isabel Yonas have earned their recognition within the world of distance runners.

This is Verska’s last Track season and chance to break the 4:15 barrier in the 1600 as well as 2:00 flat in the 800 meter. On the other hand, the county projects Bergey to run sub 4:20 in the 1600 and sub 2:01 in the 800, or possibly even faster. The Yonas sisters, only nine seconds apart in the 1600, are predicted to place first and second at state for the 1600 and 3200.

Apart from the obvious predictions, there are a couple of underdogs on the boys’ team: Freshmen Benjamin Winn and Wyatt Longstreth. Both underclassmen trained in close proximity with the veterans during Cross-Country and stayed close behind Verska and Bergey in meets.

However, Winn ran exceptionally well in all of his Cross-Country races and hit 16:51 as his personal record (PR). Within the next three years, he and Sophomore Adam Zorko are expected to become the next Nate and Ben duo as they train and race together.

Right behind Winn and Zorko, Freshman Wyatt Longstreth follows closely, quickly catching up to their speed every day. Longstreth, like Winn, already acquires a running background and can’t wait to compete in the 800 and 1600 meter events.

Throughout Cross-Country and into winter training for Track, I’m glad to have had upperclassmen like Nate, Ben, Harris, Adam, Isabel, and Carmel as I learned more about running.”

— Wyatt Longstreth

Regarding field events, Senior Riley Jones enters her last and final season of pole vaulting in Track. Last year, Jones won the state championship and jumped as high as 12 feet, leaving all her other opponents in the dust. This year, she’s just as confident in repeating her first-place win and possibly jumping even higher.

In the sprinters’ world, Juniors Chris and Josh Nelson are back on their feet and ready to compete. Chris is hoping to come home with another state champion ring in the 100 and redeem himself from false starting in the 200. Others, such as Senior Evan Bridges and Senior Nathan Heo, aim to run with the Nelson twins and finish out their final year strong.

As the season progresses, South’s Track and Field team looks very promising over the next few months. With a new Girls’ Head Coach and powerful upperclassmen, the team is starting their season better than ever and preparing for a bright future ahead at state.