Last fall, Batavia Cross Country qualified for the state meet for the first time in school history. Moving into track, the distance track program is planning on being as successful as they were during the fall season. They have set high goals for their season, after qualifying in the mile and 4×800 meter relay last year.
“I am hoping to have the team break the record for most runners under five minutes in the mile, and have a 4×800 team go to state and medal along with two individuals go down state in distance events and make finals,” said Head coach of the distance program, Bronco Meeks. “We are also looking to break the record for the most guys under five minutes in the mile.”
Mitch Zabka, the captain of the boys distance track team, came close to qualifying in the 3200 meter race last track season. After leading the cross country team in sectionals and qualifying for state for the first time in Batavia’s history, he has worked hard this winter to build a base for the coming season. Zabka is looking to run a state qualifying time of 9:20 in the 3200m this year.
“So far winter running has gone well. The weather has limited our training so we are looking forward to warmer temperatures, but we are doing a lot more than many other schools.”
The official season began on Feb 3, and attendance is climbing as it has been the last few years. From sprints to pole vault, the whole team was excited to kick off the season with the first boys meet on Feb 15, and the opening girls meet on Feb 22. Miranda Rea, a newcomer to track last year and qualifying in the 4×800 along with going to state in cross country during her first year of running, is also looking forward to this track season now that she has accomplished so much in her first year.
“I am a lot more confident in running the longer distance events and this year I actually know what I’m doing now that I have experience,” Rea said. “This all just makes me that more excited.”
The sprint program is looking for a record setting season along with distance. Two conference champions are returning from last year, along with a growing underclassmen program.
Head coach Dennis Piron has high hopes for the performance of the athletes this spring. Many varsity athletes are returning for their final year running as seniors, and there are aspiring freshman looking to make their mark on Batavia’s track program.
On Saturday, Feb 15, Batavia kicked of the competitive season with a dual meet against Wheaton Warrenville South. Competition was fierce, and many athletes started the season with very impressive times. Peyton Piron finished his 400m at 52.2 seconds, winning his heat. Ryan Wietes ran the 800m in 2:00.6, an extremely fast time for an opening meet. Batavia’s 4×400 meter relay time beat out WWS, ran by Jorden Berendt (52.2), David Curnock (53.5), Ryan Wietes (54.9), and Tristan Nelson (56.1). Sophomore Nick Stuttle impressed coaches with a 20ft 1in long jump. WWS did bring strong competitors to the track, with 2-miler Nolan Mckenna running a time of 9:24, which ranks him as the top 2-miler in the state as of Feb 17. The meet showed how strong Batavia’s team can be, and gives high hopes for success as the athletes continue to the outdoor season.
“Track is a tradition of success and excellence — that is evident throughout the year, all you have to do is look at the records,” Di Domenico said.