Junior high women’s track team finding early success

Peet and Holmes Junior High Schools have recently started their new season of track and field. Practice is underway for both schools. Peet Junior High Girls Track has competed in two meets already out of the nine scheduled meets for the season. 

Peet head women’s track coach Katie Tapke said, “We’ve had two meets already and the girls did really well. We are excited to see their progress as we continue through the season. Our first meet was a non-scoring meet, so we did not get placed. Our last meet was at Carver, and our seventh grade team got first and our eighth grade team placed third.”

According to Tapke, Peet has 80 girls out this season along with three managers. “We are lucky to have such great girls out for track this season. As a whole, the group is hard-working and motivated to improve each and every day. They come to practice ready to put in the work, and it has shown at the few meets we’ve had. Right now our biggest weakness is trying to stay healthy and injury free so we can be our absolute best at track meets. Some things we are working on each day are building stamina and speed, our hand-offs, and learning the basics of track and field so they can continue to grow as they enter track and field at the high school.”

Tapke said that there are some girls that stand out from the rest of the team. “Currently we have a really solid 4×8, 4×2, 4×1 and distance med and sprint medley team for our eighth graders. We also have great distance runners for each grade level as well. Our field event individuals are continuing to work on form, strength and speed to help improve their results as well.”

Before the girls compete in their next meet, Tapke said, “We are preparing for the meet by working hard this week since we do not have any meets. We are doing this by getting some tough workouts in and working on the things we need to focus on: hand-offs, exchange zones, form running and our field events.”

Another coach for this year, Jennifer Moser, has a lot to say about this year’s team. “Our team is large in numbers, and the girls have a strong desire for wanting to do well. This means they aren’t afraid to put in the hard work at practice. We focus on field events for part of our practices with the remaining either focused on sprinters or distance running. We spend an equal amount of time conditioning, working on speed and practicing our field events to prepare for the upcoming meets.”

One of the athletes on the track team, Peyton Schmidt, said, “I’ve been doing track for two years. I am a sprinter, so we practice a lot on conditioning and speed.” So as for the sprinters on the team they often do multiple events that are tailored to sprinters and the talents of other runners on the team. 

Schmidt said, “I have participated in the 4×4, sprint medley and distance medley and 400s. We have also worked a lot harder in practice and the competitiveness of it and being with my friends. I have run faster times in meets compared to last year. Also, running harder in practice and pushing myself to make me better.”

Schmidt also noted that her teammates have been focusing daily on getting better. “All of my teammates have worked so hard in practice, and they have all improved.”

Seventh grader Charlee Gall is also a team member and said, “This is my first year doing track, I’ve been running for a bit longer though. So far we’ve practiced handoffs. Any girls that are doing field events have practiced their field events, or if they’re doing hurdles have practiced hurdles.”

With this being Gall’s first season on the track team, things have definitely been different for her. She said, “It’s very different from cross country, which I did this year.”

She has participated in the 1500, 4×800, the open 800 and “I’m racing my first open 400 this week.”

As for everybody new to the team this year, things have changed. For Gall she said she hopes to see improvement in her skills as she runs track. “This year, I’m just excited to see how fast I can run, and enjoy joking around with my friends and teammates.”

Gall also said that things have definitely gone well this season. “I’ve only been at one meet so far, but it was a co-ed meet, and it was very fun and exciting to cheer on friends and teammates. The races also went well.”

 Gall also said she is proud of her team and is excited for the next season. “Some girls who didn’t go out for cross country came out for distance in track, and it’s been really nice having more teammates who’ve turned into really great friends. Hope they go out for cross country next year.”

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