GREENSBORO, NC- In recent years, Randolph high school has developed many talented track and field athletes, and boasts one of the stronger teams in northern NJ. This was evident once again in late spring, when the Rams had twelve kids travel to North Carolina to compete in the New Balance Nationals.
The setting, containing top track and field athletes from high schools all over the country, made quite an impact on the kids.
“Being on such a big stage was honestly amazing because I was among the best athletes in the country,” said Junior Tana Gawe. “It made me feel scared and nervous, but also made us feel like champions, as it showed us what it takes to be one of the best.”
A group of four Randolph girls competed in the 4 x Mile Relay, where they enjoyed a fitting end to an outstanding season by finishing 11th out of 28 teams competing in the championship race. The girls won their heat and recorded a season best by 16 seconds, stopping the clock at 21:21, well ahead of the second place team in their heat.
Sophomore Brooke Olson led off and ran a strong leg handing off in 4th place, just steps behind the first three runners. Freshman star Abby Loveys took over, and methodically reeled in the field, pulling away to a sizable lead before handing to sophomore Kate Gihorski.
Gihorski ran a season best and extended Randolph's lead before handing off to junior Courtney Darakjy, who ran alone for four laps and crossed the finish line as the #2 team in New Jersey and #11 in the nation.
The girls will get a much deserved break before beginning their summer training for cross country where they should be one of the top teams in New Jersey.
On the boys’ side, the 4 x 200 relay team made the trip as a group of underclassmen who hope to learn and grow from the experience.
“Unfortunately, we did not perform as we expected,” said sophomore Kevin Charles. “However, this experience has taught us the importance of preparation on and off the field. We are a resilient and dedicated team and next year we are coming back for revenge.”
The girls 4x100 Meter Shuttle Hurdle team also made the venture to NC as a group to compete in their event Championship.
This year's team was represented by one girl from each grade, including team leader and senior Sydney Steiner, Savanna Brackelmanns-Puig (Jr), Jordyn Kranis (So), and Megan O'Malley(Fr).
The girls also greatly enjoyed the experience, the great weather during the weekend, and the high end track facilities at North Carolina A&T University.
Rubbing elbows with kids from all across the country was a unique experience for all the athletes.
“The most impressive part of seeing the other teams from across the country was the sportsmanship within track and field,” said Junior John Daddario. “On multiple occasions, I was talking to other athletes and it felt as if we were friends for years, when in reality we had met moments before we competed against each other.”
“The most memorable part was walking into the stadium and seeing athletes and teams from all around the country,” said sophomore Roovins Faustima. “The air of seriousness was amazing, and it motivated us that much more. That is a feeling we will never forget, and we will use it to run that much faster the next time we take on nationals.”