Following the track and field team’s disappointing opening loss at a dual meet against Henry M. Gunn High School on March 13, the team took the time to reflect and make changes in anticipation of its March 27 meet against Mountain View High School.
Both junior varsity and varsity boys and girls lost. However, there is clear room for improvement, as head coach Kelsey Feeley attributes the loss in part to the injuries of top athletes, the absence of runners returning from winter sports and the relocation of different people between events.
“Not to make excuses, but we did have a couple of our key runners out of the meet due to injury and we’re kind of adjusting, moving people around to different events to fill in gaps,” Feeley said.
Numerous athletes stepped up, such as sophomore Rory Harriss, a first year thrower, who fulfilled the team’s empty varsity spot. Senior Jackson Hansen — who normally runs in middle and long distance events, and ran in the 4×400 meter race against Gunn — ran the 300-meter and 110-meter hurdles for the first time in his high school career. Also, freshman Brett McBride achieved a personal record, threw up after that race, yet according to Feeley, he tenaciously still ran the 4×400.
Despite the performances of these individuals, the team was still too unsettled to be at its best against its tough rivals.
“The Gunn meet was a hard way to start the season,” sophomore Bryn Carlson said. “Gunn has a really strong team, and even though there were individuals from Paly who did well, overall we just didn’t perform.”
Coach Feeley agrees with Carlson’s assessment.
“Gunn is a very strong team, [as] they’ve shown that the past few years, especially on the girls’ side,” Feeley said. “So, it’s unfortunate that we had to race Gunn at the very first meet…but you know, you win some you lose some.”
In order to achieve success against Mountain View, Carlson believes that organization is key. “I think better organization will help us to be successful against Mountain View,” Carlson said. “We had a lot of holes in the team, like certain events with very few Paly participants so we need to find those holes and then have people who are willing to take on an extra event to ensure we are just giving away points to the other team.”
Furthermore, Coach Feeley is confident that the team will do better, especially now that it has channeled its focus towards a common goal. “I feel that we have much better chances,” Feeley said. “With this week especially, coming off the tough loss, everyone’s a little more focused now, working towards the ultimate goal of moving on past our league meets.”