Rounding the Curve

Rounding the curve, the runner sees his opposition, four strides ahead, digging in for the last 100 meters. Both faces mirror the countless hours of late-night practices and early morning workouts. Through sheer determination and will, the runner begins to close the gap, a task that just a moment ago felt impossible. They finish within milliseconds of each other and lie in wait for the proclamation of the victor.

Track and field can be one of the most exciting sports to participate in and watch, especially in a tight race. Our school’s track team has been practicing all season and has seen many improvements over the year. Part of it can be attributed to the new sprint coach Mr. Ryan Forte and returning long-distance coach Mrs. Jennifer Found. 

Many track athletes have good things to say about their new coach, Mr. Forte. “Coach Forte is relatable. He is young and has been playing sports for a while,” said sophomore Jack Uekman.  “He can relate to being a high school athlete, and he is very approachable, which makes it easy to talk to him about our events. He is very honest about our goals, athletic limits, and what we should do. He brings a good mood to the team and makes the practices more enjoyable.”

Going up against much larger schools gives our school a disadvantage in most sports. “We have done two freshmen meets and two varsity meets. We got second to last at the first varsity meet, which isn’t awful, considering that we are going up against schools with thousands of kids like Bryant and Conway,” said Mr. Forte. “We made a big jump, and in Russellville, we got sixth out of twelve schools. The guys are competing more and getting a lot faster. The freshmen have been mainly in the middle of the pack both times.”

For many people, running isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when they think of fun, but there are a lot of reasons people participate in track and field. “Running is not super fun, but the meets being around there and being with everyone. It is not like football where you play one school. You are with seven schools, all in our conference, and there are around 500 kids participating in track and field there,” said Uekman. “It also helps with just about any other sport that you participate in. The cardio, the core strength, and the endurance all help with other sports.”

There are many reasons that Mr. Forte thinks people should participate in track and field. He said, “It is more of an individual thing. You get to go out there and make goals for yourself and push yourself. I am there every step of the way, but guys get to dig out the inner beast in them. It is only going to make you better.” The track team also recruited senior Arden Semans to join the team. He said,” I ran the mile at the beginning of my sophomore PE class, and I ran just under a six-minute mile. The teacher told a track senior, and then the team recruited me, and now I’ve been on the team since then.”

 Mr. Forte’s demeanor and openness have brought a lot more enthusiasm to the track and field team. Being a football and track and field coach, he has noticed some differences in both sports. He said, “The track is more individual. You get to see guys start at one point, get better, and attack their goals. They get to focus on getting better with their speed and endurance.”

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