By BREANA TAN, sophomore
The icy weather and piles of snow may be enough to discourage most of us from stepping outside, but members of the JPS Winter Track Team are unfazed by the rain, snow, and sleet that Mother Nature hurls at them. Even when the track is covered with a blanket of snow, both the boys and girls’ teams train vigorously after school to prepare their minds and bodies for upcoming meets.
The Hawks’ countless hours of running in the bone-chilling cold resulted in commendable times in the 13th Annual Leon Bailey Liberty Relays on December 20, 2013, at the Jersey City Armory. Both the boys and girls’ teams entered in the Distance Medley Relay and Shuttle Hurdle Relay, and both medaled in their respective categories. The Lady Hawks, led by captains Ashleigh Anderson (11), Olivia Kononiuk (11), and Urvi Saini (11), came in sixth for the Shuttle Hurdle Relay and Distance Medley Relay, while the boys’ team, led by Mark Cooke (12), Jaashir Morris (12), and Panth Patel (12), came in second in the same events and added a fourth place medal in the Sprint Medley to their record.
Even more impressive was the Hawks’ victory at the GMC’s. The boys’ indoor distance medley relay school record was broken by Jaashir Morris, Panth Patel, Mark Cooke, and Aaron John (10), who added another silver medal to JP Stevens’ collection of winter track medals. Following closely behind, the shuttle hurdle relay team also received a silver medal while the sprint medley relay team earned fourth place. The Lady Hawks medaled as well, earning sixth place for the distance medley relays and seventh place for the 4×800. Jong Chan Lee (12) says, “We did well and I’m very proud and thankful for my teammates, but there’s still more room for improvement. We shouldn’t be satisfied with our results; instead, we should use them to motivate us to achieve better!”
These hard-earned victories have inspired the teams to work even harder for later dual meets and races. Inclement weather poses a powerful hindrance to their intense practice schedules, but the runners are only more motivated to find creative ways to train consistently. Captain Ashleigh Anderson points out, “We have been without a track for weeks because of the snow so it’s been really hard to practice efficiently and get ready, but we’ve been finding our way around it!” When the track team is not running around the school perimeter, you might see the sprinters dashing across the gym, the hurdlers leaping over the obstacles, and the distance runners jogging around the Maples complex or down icy Livingston Avenue.
With this type of perseverance, diligence, and agility, other schools’ teams will be left to bite the dust, or rather, snow. As Mridula Karthik (11) says, “The whole team is extremely dedicated and full of love for the sport and they’re willing to work hard for themselves as well as for JP.”