Jefferson track and field competes against Justice and Edison

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Photo courtesy of NFHS Network

Junior Annika Topchy leaps over a hurdle in the 100 meter hurdles event, far ahead of two runners from Justice High School on the evening of May 5. “[This year], you can only do [meets] with two other schools, so it’s a lot less people which means less competition. There’s just not a lot of hurdlers in the area, so it’s hard to push myself,” Topchy, a captain of Jefferson’s outdoor track and field team, said.

Rachel Lewis, Team Leader

Jefferson’s outdoor track team competed against Justice High School and Thomas Edison High School at 5:45 PM on Wed., May 5. The girls’ team earned 56 points, scoring second place out of the three schools, while the boys’ team earned 37 points and scored third place. 

“It was our second meet of the season, but [during] the first meet we had, the weather was awful. I don’t think anyone [achieved a personal record (PR) time]. So it was kind of a waste of a meet,” junior and captain Annika Topchy, who competes in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles events, said. “This meet was our first good weather meet for two years, and everybody was pretty excited to run. There were a lot of PRs [after] two years of growing and getting stronger.”

However, not everyone was able to beat their personal record time, and the occasional headwinds didn’t help.

“I actually did not hit my PR from three months ago. I missed it by about a second,” sophomore Luke Wang, who ran the 3200 meter event, said. “I think I did perform a bit better, but the time was worse because the wind was pretty strong that day.”

Although returning track and field team members had not competed in a meet since freshman or sophomore year (for juniors and seniors, respectively), it was only the second meet of high school track for freshmen and sophomore runners.

“I got to race against new people, particularly from [Jefferson]. I ran the 800 and it was very competitive, and it was also the first time that all four of us [Jefferson students] had run it,” sophomore Jack Klopson, who took second place in the 800 meter race, said. “I was pretty excited to get to race against Pranav [Velleleth] and Matthew [Ruby] because they’re both freshmen this year. There’s a lot of new talent on the team, and they both ran really well.”

The outdoor track and field season was canceled in the 2019-20 school year, and this year’s season is shortened, so runners have had less conditioning time. However, Topchy was able to finish her races with personal record times. 

“I’ve been putting a lot of pressure on myself this season, because it’s been two years since I ran and I’m expecting to do really well right off the bat, but it’s a bit harder than that,” Topchy said. “I’m not exactly where I want to be yet but it was definitely a good step. I was happy with how I did, and from that I can tell what I need to work on and how I can get even faster next time.”