Girls’ track: Fresh start out of the blocks

March 16, 2010 — by Aanchal Mohan

Two new coaches + a lack of experienced track athletes = a long season ahead.

This simple equation shows how challenging the girls’ track team’s season may be. For the past few years the ladies have proven to be strong, producing many athletes who have gone to compete at the college level, such as alumnae Katie Gasik (Chico State, hurdles) and Kiersten Dolbec (UC Santa Barbra, high jump). This year the girls are going to have to jump over many hurdles to make it to leagues.

“Since there are a lot less of us, we’re going to have to work a lot harder to make [an impact at] leagues,” said senior thrower Baylee Yates. “We have a lot of potential; it’s just going to be a challenge.”

Compared to previous years, participation in girls’ track has declined, and the team has mostly underclassmen. While many of these underclassmen have proven their skill, including freshmen distance runner Courtney Schlossareck and sprinter Melodie Bellegarda , their lack of racing experience could prove to be problematic. With the help of the new sprint coach Michael Xiatry, however, they hope to be able to prove otherwise.

“The new coach works us a lot harder than previous coaches,” said senior sprinter and co-captain Danielle Conway.”He works more on strength and technique [compared to others].”

Another change in the team this year, besides the lack of upperclassmen, is the addition of three new coaches. After head and throwing coach Andy Arnez and sprint coach Dave Li didn’t return this season, jumping coach Archie Ljepava stepped up to the plate and took on the role of head coach.

“[Ljepava] is definitely stepping up his authority,” said Conway. “He’s doing a great job at taking control of the team.”

Besides the addition of Xiatry, throwing coach Jason Nelson has also joined the track family.

As the new coaches begin to familiarize themselves with their respective athletes, they will soon have to take into consideration who will be running varsity and JV. As of March 8, no one has been officially been informed of their positions except for returning varsity athletes such as senior sprinters Conway and Sarah Guy, thrower Yates, and senior distance runner Karen Wai. The mock meet on March 4 helped decide where each person would be placed.

The Falcons officially started their season with an away meet at Wilcox, one of Saratoga’s toughest competitors, on March 11 and then at home against Monta Vista on March 18, but due to printing deadlines results could not be published.

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