Track team braces for heat at state

Caraline Trecha

Handing the piton off to junior Julia Schaller, senior Savannah Pounds completes her part of that race. Michele King and Emily Smith completed the group for the 4x800. Four other groups competed in this same race April 25. Photo by Makayla Baker
The Bruin track and field team take their next step toward the state championship title this weekend, May 25-26, in Jefferson City.
At the district meet May 13, despite the heat, both Bruin teams came out on top; the boy’s team placed first at districts and the girls placed second.
“Over all we competed very well,” senior Nicholas Dale said. “Those two finishes are respectable and it gives us a bit of confidence going into the state championship meet. We all were pleased with our performances and the outcome as a whole.”
Rock Bridge has 25 athletes competing in the meet this weekend. The Bruins will be representing all age groups and all events. Here is a list of the athletes and their specialties:
Nate Egharevba (12): High Jump, 110m hurdles
Daniel Brennan (12): Triple Jump
Austin Ray (12): Shot Put
Collin Sees (12): 4x800m relay, 4x400m relay
Zach Cook (10): 4x800m relay
Nick Dale (12): 4x800m relay
Caleb Wilfong (12): 4x800m relay, 1600m run, 3200m run
Bennet Arey (12): 4x200m relay, 4x400m relay
Bo Bell (12): 4x200m relay, 4x400m relay
Chas Barbee (11): 4x200m relay, 4x400m relay
Brennan Cortez (12): 4x200m relay
Jordan Cook (12): 1600m run, 800m run
Nathan Keown: 3200m run
Madison Wipfler (10): Triple Jump, 4x100m relay
Mubinah Khaleel (10): Shot Put
Kenzie Schimpf (12): 4x800m relay, 800m run
Sam Farmer (9): 4x800m relay
Kayla Funkenbush (9): 4x800m relay
Megan Schulte (11): 4x800m relay
Mallory Short (11): 100m hurdles
Christina Oyelola (11): 100m dash, 4x200m relay, 4x100m relay, 200m dash
Sienna Trice (11): 4x200m relay, 4x100m relay, 300m hurdles
Hailey King (10): 4x200m relay, 4x100m relay
Makayla Jones (9): 4x200m relay, 200m dash
Sam Garrett (12): 1600m run, 3200m run
These athletes hope to continue their fast paced winning streak this Saturday, even though their opponents will be more challenging.
“There’s a lot more competition at the state meet than at the sectionals meet,” junior Mallory Short said. “So making finals will be hard for some but I feel like each one of us has great potential to do so.”
Despite the differences in competition, some of the athletes have been doing special training and preparation for this weekend, hoping to bring out the best of the players.
“We do a lot more speed work rather than endurance,” Dale said. “We’ve built up our miles over the season to give us a good endurance base to shape our workouts around, so now it all comes down to fine tuning and making sure we feel fresh and fast on race day.”
Other Bruin athletes are preparing in different ways that will help them excel before their big races.
“Coach [Neal] Blackburn has some of the runners on a program that allows us to ‘peak’ for this upcoming state weekend,” senior Bennett Arey said. “He does this by slowly decreasing our times in practice, running faster, week by week. This week we have done all 90% and plus sprints hitting times in practice faster than all year. We have also been running shorter distances and less reps because we obviously get more tired.”
Whichever way they chose to prepare, all the athletes share the same goal of avoiding dehydration. This weekend is going to be another hot one for the athletes, with a high in the low ’90s.  But once again despite the heat, the Bruins will push themselves to their fullest potential.
“We have been hydrating all week for this weekend,” Dale said. “It is all about keeping fluids in you and making sure you stay as cool as possible during race day. We plan on sending some of the runners who run later in the day down to Jeff City a little later so that they wont have to sit in the sun all day just waiting around. We also have ice packs and cold towels for those who are racing periodically throughout the day. It is suppose to be 94-96 degrees, so it will definitely be hot racing weather but we are acclimated to it.”
With their training and overload of water, the Bruins expect nothing but excellence in coming weekend. They are hoping to stay cool and let their hours of training and workouts lead them to a successful day of track and field events.
“Tons of obstacles are set in front of us as a team but we always manage to get through them no matter what and I know for a fact that we are ready for state this weekend,” junior Sienna Trice said. “Rock Bridge will bring it all.”
By Caraline Trecha