BY ERIN HELLHAKE
Later today, the full varsity girls winter track team competes for the final time this season in the Greater Middlesex County Championship meet on March 1. COVID-19 lockdowns and weather-related conditions rescheduled earlier meets, but that has not hindered the team’s determination to succeed.
The irregular season has presented both obstacles and opportunities for the team. “[GMCs] are later than usual this year, but it gives us a unique situation to better prepare and do well,” said head coach Adrian Cline.
Some runners also hope to qualify for the upcoming New Jersey Meet of Champions. Cline said that long jumper Maya Grden and the 4×800 relay team of runners Riley O’Reagan, Victoria Lobrow, Gianna Tuso, and Julia Garron have potential to qualify for the Meet of Champions. “It’s really up to the fierceness we all have to get there and compete at our absolute best,” said Lobrow, who competes in the 1600m and 3200m in addition to being on the relay team.
In early February, seniors O’Regan and Lobrow traveled to the East Coast Championship meet in Virginia to try to earn qualifying times for the State Sectionals meet. “Many events were postponed, but I luckily had the opportunity to race in Virginia,” said O’Regan. “It was such a cool and fun experience.”
At the State Sectionals meet on February 12, freshman Maliha Nuredinoska became the lead shot-put thrower on the team, which Cline says is “a remarkable achievement” for a freshman. “It was a very nig accomplishment for me that I worked extremely hard for”, said Nuredinoska. “Being the lead shot-put thrower on the team made me feel ecstatic.”
Over winter break in a meet at Toms River, the 4×200 relay team placed second. Junior Isabel Duval said, “The highlight of my season was placing in this race.”
The team succeeded despite things not always going as planned. “The bubble we race in deflated because of the snow, so we totally hit a huge obstacle in our season,” said O’Regan, who participates in the 400m and 800m events in addition to the 4×800 relay. “This season has had a few ups and down, but I think we’re getting into a good groove and ready to finish out strong.”
Many winter track athletes return to compete in the spring season, which starts directly after the conclusion of the winter season. Seniors who participated in track for most of their high school careers, such as O’Regan and Lobrow, said the ending of this track season is a bittersweet experience. “I’m so proud of what the team has accomplished so far – no matter where we end up,” said Lobrow. “I’m excited for what’s next for the team and our upcoming spring season.”
Posted on 3/1/22
Photos by Lors Photography