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‘Be the spark’: girls’ varsity track team wins Carlson Anderson Invite

By Cass Norville

On Thurs., April 19, the varsity girls’ track and field team took first place at the Carlson Anderson Invite hosted by Batavia High School. Some of the athletes that contributed to the varsity win were sophomore Kyra Swims, junior Mandy Saucedo, and senior Joycelyn Young. Swims placed first place in the triple jump, Saucedo placed second in the same event, and Young took home second place in both the 4×100-meter relay and the 100-meter dash.

The meet took place on Batavia’s Senior Night. All night the seniors were commemorated by posters made by senior Maddie Ross, who has been a thrower for the girls’ track team all four years of high school.

While attending the Carlson Anderson Invite, the team performed to the best of their ability. There were girls dashing across the field in order to catch up with their teammate racing on the track. The girls’ track team has done well this season, taking home the indoor Upstate Eight Conference title.

“The girls are working hard, competing, and they are breaking their own personal records – their own goals that they’ve set. I am very happy with their performance,” said girls’ varsity coach, Justin Allison.

Swims is one of the many athletes that work hard to succeed. She jumped her record best in the triple jump on Thursday, taking first place. Swims will be an upperclassman next year and is prepared for the pressure and responsibility that comes with being one of the best jumpers on the team.

“It doesn’t make me nervous,”  Swims said. “I already have responsibilities when it comes to my jumps because there are a lot of new people.”

Sharing that responsibility is junior Saucedo, who placed just behind Swims on Thursday. She is a fellow triple jumper, who does her best to be an asset to the team.

“This year I’ve gotten faster with my 200 time which is nice because now I can be a good addition to the team when they need me,” Saucedo said.

And on Thursday, they needed Saucedo and Swims in order to be successful. But the success that occurs on the track doesn’t just come from the girls wanting to compete well. It comes from the encouragement from the coach.

According to Coach Allison, being personable, having high expectations, and working with each individual to achieve these specific goals aids in a successful team. These actions not only create a successful team but a team that is close and respectful of one another.

Every athlete and coach spoke about the team being one community that helps each individual feel like they are safe and apart of something bigger than themselves.

“I think it’s important that we all not only feel welcome on the team but we all need to feel like a track family,” Ross said.

Coach Allison tells the team repeatedly to “be the spark,” and run to each event to cheer on their teammates. Part of being the spark comes with energy. The quote is about celebrating the accomplishments of one another in order to encourage the team to push their limits and reach their goals.

“‘Be the Spark’ encompasses not just a work ethic, it encompasses the physical aspects of it,” Coach Allison said. “It encompasses positive attitude, not just in the sport but also in the classroom.”

The Batavia girls’ varsity track and field team still has the rest of their outdoor season to continue to be successful. Each individual aids in the success of the team and the encouragement begins with the coach.

“For our distance side, we have had a tremendously talented and positive crew,” Allison said. “They always set up and meet every challenge that is put before them. Senior MaryGrace Golden, our Student Athletic Board Representative, has been a strong leader on and off the track. Two new additions to our distance side, freshman Jenna Schifferer, and sophomore Audrey Pellico have enhanced our team. We are excited about their continued success throughout this season and for their future running careers.”

The team as a whole only wishes to win and perform to their best – to be the spark.

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