By Shanelle Poole ‘15 & Kiara McNeil ‘15
“Run with your heart, run fast and run for the fun of it” the girls’ track team chants as they huddle before each the race. The next time they will see each other is at the finish line.
The Hornets repeated their chant as track stars from across the world met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to run in the Penn Relays. This is the largest track and field competition in the United States. About 15,000 high school students go to Penn each year.
Before the girls’ could make it to Penn, they had to work hard on and off the field. The team used the races that led up to Penn to help them practice.
At one of the meets, they ran a time of 50 in the 4×100, and a time of 4:11 in the 4×400. With these times, the girls were hopeful that they could improve and end up victorious at Penn.
Off the field, the girls had to work together by fundraising. Since the beginning of the school year, all 65 members on the girls’ team had to sell bags of snacks. By working together, and selling all of their snacks, the girls were able to pack up and go to Penn.
“We were determined to go back to Penn Relay because we wanted to prove ourselves,” said Ashell Tisin ‘15.
Last year the track team came in fourth in the 4×100 and third in the 4×400. They were 7th in the 4×400 but the last leg, Ashell was able to breeze by four people, and that’s what landed the team in 3rd. The girls wanted to redeem themselves.
Unlike other track meets where the runners have to work on their own, a relay team consists of four members. They have to work together to win. There is the first leg that sets the pace , the second and third leg have to maintain the pace and the last leg has to finish it off and try to win the race.
The 4×100 relay team is made up of Amber Edwards ‘14, Anna Duke ‘15, Ashell Tisin ’15, and Jadah Tappin ‘16. The 4×400 relay team is made up of Ashell Tisin, Anna Duke, Arianah Denoon ‘16 and Jadah Tappin.
“Although there are four of us, we become one on the track, especially when we pass the baton,” said Jadah Tappin. “We have to be in sync and we have to trust each other.”
At Penn, they ran a 52 in the 4×100 and a 4:12 in the 4×400. They came in third place in the 4×100 heat and fourth in the 4×400 heat.
“I wasn’t satisfied with the way we ran at Penn because we were expecting to do better,” said Anna Duke. “But we had a great experience and I would love to go next year so we could show everyone what we are capable of.”
Their coach, Walter Cohen, is satisfied with how the team did.
When the girls weren’t on the field, they had the chance to watch the races, and they were able to mix and mingle with fellow track athletes. Double Olympic Gold Medalist Sanya Richards Ross, 4x100m Olympic Gold Medalist Carmelita Jeter and an uprising athlete Alex Anderson were in attendance. They gave advice and talked about their experiences being on the 2012 US Olympic track team.
“Sanya gave me advice on how to run my race and believe in myself and she told me anything is possible,” said Ashell.
The girls are looking forward to going back to Penn Relays in 2015. They are ready to blaze the track and leave their opponents in the dust.
Unfortunately, the boys’ track team wasn’t able to attend Penn Relay due to a lack of funds.