2017 Track Preview
Waukee Athletics have dominated on the track for years, and this 2017 season looks to be making another strong start. Track and Field is a sport which includes athletic competitions based on running, jumping, and throwing. The foot racing events, which include sprints, middle and long-distance events, as well as hurdling, are won by the athlete with the fastest time. The jumping and throwing events are won by the athlete who achieves the greatest distance or height. Regular jumping events include long jump, high jump, while the most common throwing events are shot put and discus.
Brent Heitland, coach of the boys varsity track team for fourteen years, spoke on behalf of the team, “I think all our student-athletes work hard, and it reflects in their performance as they improve from meet to meet because of their hard work.” Heitland continued, “Our focus is usually on trying to run a balanced line-up that will help our team be successful, so our performances in events can change from meet to meet.”
Girls’ varsity track coach Jesse Hunt commented as well, “I would say we have a number of girls that lead by example; that’s the key to having a successful team. It is inspiring to your teammates to ask more of themselves than ever before, it’s a commitment and a dedication to something that is bigger than yourself. We are fortunate to have a number of girls that lead in that way, which is one of the main reasons why we have a successful program. Girls are willing to step up, take accountability, and put in the work to improve on a daily basis.”
Josh Andrews, a senior athlete, typically participates in the 400 meter and 800 meter races. Andrews commented on his experiences, “Being involved in track and field has taught me hard work and leadership. Through learning those skills I’ve also made many friends.” Junior Lily Campbell also runs 400s and 800s and said, “My teammates have supported me by cheering for me and helping me stay mentally tough throughout [the hard races]”
Senior Chloe Havermann added, “[This season] I am shooting for the high jump outdoor school record which is 5’6”. I am super excited for my last season because I have another chance to prove myself. My teammates make track fun, especially when it gets challenging.”
Senior Carsen Kurth discussed the team atmosphere, “Track is really meant to be a team sport through all of the challenges we face together on and off the track. This year we are looking to overcome some of our challenges from last year by bring back the state title.” Kurth may continue running in college but is still unsure of future plans at the moment. Fellow senior Carson Doty added, “Track is like a metaphor for life; whatever you put into work you get out in time. There is no hiding in track, everyone is going to see how much you put in.”
Aside from running events, Moe Nealey talked about her experience throwing for Waukee, “Since throwers do their own [routine] a lot, we’ve formed our own family and that allows us to be even more competitive and push each other to do better each day.” Nealey has competed in Waukee’s track program throughout high school, but she will be attending DMACC on softball scholarship fall of 2017.
Athletes compete in different individual events in hopes to earn enough points to win the meet for their school. Coach Hunt commented on the strengths of Waukee’s program, “We strive to have depth in all areas of our team. Currently, our shot put, 800m, and hurdle performances all rank near the top in the entire state. Historically, we have had a great deal of success in the relays, which again speaks to the depth of our team. We are excited to compete and embrace the challenges ahead of us this year.”