Indoor track team races at Atlantic Coast Invitational and prepares for Districts


Photo courtesy of Sally Stumvoll.

Junior Katrina Junta races as the second leg of the girls’ 4×800 relay team. The relay placed fourth and barely missed qualifying for States.

Ellen Kan, Managing Editor

On Feb. 1, Jefferson’s indoor track and field team competed at the 2014 Atlantic Coast Invitational. For many athletes, the invitational served as the last meet of the season to obtain a personal record (PR) or to qualify for the Conference 13 Championships.

The meet, which was held at the Boo Williams Sportsplex in Hampton, Va., was originally scheduled for two days, but the inclement weather forced race officials to condense the meet into one day. Despite missing several runners, the Jefferson team still performed well, with many athletes surpassing their previous PRs in both running events and field events.

On the distance side, senior Zartosht Ahlers placed seventh in the 3200-meter run. The girls’4×800 relay team – which included, in race order, juniors Kate Salamido and Katrina Junta, freshman Abigail Shoemaker and junior Haley Stumvoll – placed fourth for a season best, although they missed qualifying for States by a mere three seconds.

For the sprinting and field events, senior Muthu Chidambaram scored for the team by placing fifth in the boys’ triple jump. The boys’ 4×200 relay team – Chidambaram, senior Raeford Penny, sophomore Jonah Casebeer and senior Floyd Baker – also auto-qualified for the regional meet. The 4×400 team, composed of Penny, Baker, sophomore Jesse Cai and Casebeer, placed third. Freshman Christina Oh also qualified for Districts in the 500-meter dash.

Overall, the boys’ team placed 19th out of the 36 teams present, and the girls placed 27th out of 33 teams. According to Penny, despite the high number of PRs, many runners suffered from the snow days, which hampered their training.

“Most of our athletes were off their bests because of the snow days,” Penny said. “As much as we love to not have school, the inability to practice has affected our performance. But this has just motivated us to push harder.”

The team now looks forward to the Conference 13 Championships. The district meet will be split into two days; the first day, Feb. 4, will be at Episcopal High School, and the second day, Feb. 7, will be at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center.

Many of the runners are not enthusiastic about running at the Thomas Jefferson Community Center, which does not sport an actual indoor track and therefore will negatively impact performances.

“We aren’t even allowed to wear spikes in our racing shoes, so expectations are not high,” Salamido said. “I think that we are all just trying to do well enough to move on to Regionals so that we can run in a nice facility and have a good shot at getting a PR.”

All of the aforementioned athletes have qualified for and will be competing at Districts, along with seniors Alyssa Bruce, Christina Mayuga, Jamie Simon, Chandan Singh, Tabitha Timm, Matt Wattendorf and Grace Zeng, juniors Chris Blagg, Stephannie Chen, Vijay Chinnam, Carolina Hatanpää, Monique Mezher, Mary Pollen and Yuqian Yang, sophomores Claire Dong, Nate Foss, Sydney Miller and Jennifer Song and freshmen Jodie Beaumont, Nikita Sawant and Saurav Velleleth.

As always, the team looks forward to placing as high as possible at Districts. Hopes are especially high this year due to the redistricting, which will level the playing field by pitting the Jefferson team against rival schools that are more similar in the number of athletes.

“The overall goal for the team is to win the conference title, as we are in a tight battle with Edison High School and Marshall High School,” Penny said. “The next priority is to get as many athletes and relays qualified for Regionals.”