Baby got track
The 2017 edition
March 27, 2017
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It’s been quite the month for East Lake’s track and field team with an impressive start to the season. They began here at home with the Early Bird Invitational where 26 teams and over 1,000 athletes competed. For the first time in school history the boys and girls teams took home the invitational title, showing everyone that this was going to be a big year for the Eagles and that they were definitely a team to keep an eye on.
Just a week and a half later junior James Hasell broke the boys 3200 school record at the Berkley Invitational, running a blazing time of 9:44. The previous record had been standing since 1998 and this was only Hasell’s second time ever running the race in his high school career. The junior is looking to have a breakout season to begin catching the eye of college coaches.
At the 55th annual Ed Wells Invitational hosted by Clearwater High School both the girls and boys teams took home the dub for the first time in school history. Particularly on the girls side it took full force from every athlete with Kaitlyn Kirby and Cierra Walker both not being able to compete. Head coach Brit Taylor was also absent this meet as he was in New York at the New Balance Indoor Track and Field National Championship with Kaitlyn Kirby, where she competed in the pentathlon, which is a multi-event consisting of the 60 meter hurdles, long jump, shot put, high jump, and 800 meters. In the entire meet Kirby took 5th, earning her the title of being an All-American, the first in school history. Coach Taylor even mentioned that “Kaitlyn’s score would have scored points in several Division 1 conference championship meets.” However, back in Clearwater, there were also many stand out performances with two meet records being set by Jennifer Lima in the 800 (2:18) and the 1600 (5:02). The 1600 time Lima posted also breaks an ELHS school record, which she already held. Josh Bowers also blew away the competition in the 100 and 200, showing everyone that an ACL tear wasn’t going to hold him back from standing out this track season. Bryce Miller was also a meet champion in the boys triple jump.
Even though the following week was spring break, these athletes definitely didn’t get a break from workouts. They showed out at practice every morning, giving up going on cruises and fun trips all for the sake of training and preparation. On March 18th the Eagles traveled to IMG Academy, where they began their long stretch of very competitive meets. The IMG Invitational led to many personal bests and school records, proving that their spring break sacrifice was worth their time. Kaitlyn Kirby started the day off with crushing her own school record in the 110 hurdles (14.65) and taking second. James Hasell (1:56) and Jennifer Lima (2:14) also had standout and record breaking performances in the 800. Freshman standout Parker Valby also had an incredible race in the 1600, running a time of 5:21, which is the fourth fastest time to be run by any girl in ELHS history. There were PRs all over the board with Matthew Wyers in the 3200, Bryce Miller in the long jump, Jake Castle in the 110 hurdles, and many more.
Track season is officially half way over and with just under a month and a half left to go, things are beginning to heat up. 400 meter runner Jasmin Carter said, “Everyone is putting in extra work to accomplish their goals and the team is looking great as we go into the championship season.” There couldn’t be higher hopes and goals for this track and field team who has made it known to Pinellas Country and many surrounding areas that they come to compete, and they compete to win.