Raising the Bar at Shippensburg
The pressure was much greater on a bigger stage for four of McDowell’s Track and Field Athletes at Shippensburg University on May 24 and May 25. “We had gotten used to racing against the same Pittsburgh Schools at every meet. And going down there, [racing against] all these schools I had never heard of…It was kind of intimidating,” said Sydney Sokol, a sophomore at McDowell.
Sokol took a while to find her stride. “It started out rough. I wasn’t hitting my times like I was at the end of the season last year.” As the season went on, she commented “I started racing against girls from the Pittsburgh Area, they were all really fast. It was my motivation to be able to run with them,” she said. It is her second year running the 300m Hurdles, and her first time going to states. She finished 8th at the 3rd Heat of the AAA 300m Hurdles.
Caleb Sanford, a pole vaulter for McDowell and the only freshman to compete in the Boys’ AAA Pole Vault, finished 12th in the event. He says he “improved a whole lot with great coaching… I gained a lot of ground this year.” A freshman entering high school would have had little to no exposure to pole vaulting. However, Sanford’s been getting exposure to it for a long time. “My grandfather has a pole vault and runway at his house. I’ve been around it since I was a small child,” he said. Being the only freshman to compete at states in his event motivated him, but he said, “I’m not satisfied with 12th.” Only one sophomore finished ahead of Sanford at states. All other competitors were juniors or seniors.
Senior Gino Brown came in 14th in the Boys’ AAA Triple Jump at states, after a high school track and field career that included competing in various events including the long jump, the triple jump, the 100m hurdles, and the discus throw. Brown has been participating in the Triple Jump since his freshman year, and was pleased with his performance. “I hit my personal record,” he said. Brown plans on competing in the Decathlon in college, which involves the 100m, Long Jump, Shot Put, High Jump, 400m, 110m Hurdles, Discus Throw, Pole Vault, Javelin Throw, and 1500m. Brown hopes to be accepted into the University of Oregon to run the decathlon.
Senior Anna Chodubski participated in two events: she came in 15th in the Girls’ AAA Triple Jump and she also came in 24th in the Girls’ AAA Long Jump. Brown and Chodubski are graduating on June 11, so the indoor track’s budget cuts will not be affecting a return to states for them. However, Sokol and Sanford both remain confident in the winter program’s ability to remain standing. Sokol said, “We’ll probably have to find our own rides. We don’t have buses anymore.” Sanford said, “I don’t think it [budget cuts] will affect us at all. We’re still going to practice and compete just like we did.”
Overall during the season, the McDowell Track and Field Team went 5-1 for the Boys and 6-0 for the girls. Also, they participated in 5 meets, with the boys winning one. The team finished 3rd in AAA District 10 this season.
by Adam Unger