• Mother Nature finally allows Mariners to christen new track
By Sean Pearson
If the Mariner track team’s performance at Saturday’s Snowball Scramble was any indication of how effectively they’ve been practicing – in the school’s hallways, in the parking lot, along Pioneer Avenue – perhaps they should forgo their brand new million-dollar track, and just stick with a more old-school, street-smart regimen. (Picture Rocky Balboa pummeling a side of beef.)
It appears to be working.
Homer track and fielders scrambled to 11 first-place finishes in the Seward meet. They competed against the Seahawks, as well as the Colony Knights, and showed their versatility in both running and field events.
Senior captain Casey Farrell and freshman Aurora Waclawski led the way for the Lady Mariners, each finishing first in two individual events. They also helped to pick up wins two relay events.
Farrell took care of the distance races with first-place finishes in the 800 and 1600-meter events, while Waclawski sprinted to wins in the 200m and 400m.
Both said they were happy with their performances.
“I felt really good in all my races,” Farrell said. “I’ve wanted to break six minutes on the mile for a year, now. From here, I can only improve.”
Farrell said she is looking to shave a good five seconds off her time in both the 800 and 1600m races. That’s a good thing, as freshman Barae Hirsch is consistently right on her heels.
Hirsch took second place in both the 800 and 1600; she crossed the finish line less than one second behind Farrell in the 800. Molly Mitchell placed third.
Waclawski, who finished the 200 in 29.48 seconds, said she intends to do more work on her pacing.
“Right now, we are working on a lot of repeats and block starts to improve our sprints,” Waclawski said. “I would really like improve my pacing on the longer distances.”
Waclawski’s teammate, Tayla Cabana, took third in the 200. She finished the race in just over 30 seconds, but is a bit behind her game as she recovers from being sick.
“It wasn’t too great of a meet for me, personally,” Cabana said. “But the rest of the team did awesome.”
Several Mariners bested their personal records at the Seward meet.
And don’t let Cabana’s illness fool you. The recovering junior still finished second in the 300m hurdles, just .02 seconds behind Seward’s Emily Brockman.
“I knew it was close, but I wasn’t sure who won,” Cabana said. “I’d really like to improve my form at the end of the 300m hurdles — and work on my overall endurance.”
Cabana also ran a leg of the winning Mariner 4×200 relay team, and grabbed second place in the shot put with a toss of 26 feet, 3 inches. Seward senior Tessa Adelmann dominated the shot put event with her first-place throw of 36 feet, 7.5 inches.
Cabana said she was disappointed there were no long jump or triple jump events at the meet, but is turning all of her focus now toward improving.
“I really need to work on my technique,” she said. “And, overall, I just need to get back into shape after being sick.”
Lady Mariner relay teams took first in both the 4×200 and 4×400 events, and second in the 4×800.
Waclawski said she is looking forward to the relay events in upcoming meets.
“Our relay teams have a lot of depth, so I am really excited to see how well we can do this season,” she said.
In the men’s competition, Homer saw individual first-place performances from Pedro Ochoa, Connor Seay and Mark McGregor.
Ochoa took first in the 800m with a time of 2:09.8. He finished third in the 1600m, and expressed his pride in his team’s achievements.
“I am not just happy with my performance,” Ochoa said. “The whole team showed that Homer is a team to fear.”
Ochoa looks to improve his time in both events, and knows exactly what it will take to get there.
“I believe if I keep following my coaches’ advice, stay motivated, and work hard in practice, I will see my times drop,” he said.
Sophomore Connor Seay took his spot at the top of the 300m hurdle field, finishing the race in 45.17, and edging Homer senior Mark McGregor by just over a second. Seay also placed third in the 200, while McGregor grabbed his “gold” with a first-place finish in the 110m hurdles.
Seay said he would like to improve his hurdle formation, and looks to work on it in practice this week.
“It really wasn’t hard at all to get used to running on the track after running on pavement,” Seay said. “I don’t plan to change anything at this point. I’m doing good the way I am.”
Seay said he continues to build up his core strength to be a better athlete.
Homer relay teams took first in the 4×200 and 4×400 competitions. The 4×400 team finished in 4:03.2; a full eight seconds ahead of second-place Seward.
The Mariners held a mini-meet on Tuesday, but results from the competition were not available by press time.
The Mariners will host the Borough Tournament this year on May 3 and 4 on the new track. Starting times for the two days of borough competition will be announced at a later date.
Farrell said, as captain, she feels a responsibility to her team.
“I want to show the younger athletes what it’s like to earn your personal best and to race smart,” she said. “Racing is just as mentally challenging as it is physically.”
“And we’re all pretty sure that running on Homer’s new track will definitely help me and everyone else drop their times.”
1. Aurora Waclawski, 29.48 seconds; 3. Tayla Cabana, 30:82
1. Aurora Waclawski, 1:05.8
1. Casey Farrell, 2:41.4; 2. Barae Hirsch, 2:42.2; 3. Molly Mitchell, 2:45.0; 8. Sakota Mitchell, 3:12.4
1. Casey Farrell, 5:51,7; 2. Barae Hirsch, 5:57.2; 4. Molly Mitchell, 6:04.2; 10. Abigale Brant, 6:34.1; 12. Mattea Peters, 6:49.6
2. Tayla Cabana, 54.32
4×200 Relay (Waclawski, Cabana,
1. Homer, 2:06.13; 2. Colony, 2:13.43
4×400 Relay (Farrell,Waclawski
1. Homer, 4:41; 2. Colony, 4:59.6; 3. Seward, 5:02.8
1. Seward, 11:26.8; 2. Homer, 11:57.6
2. Tayla Cabana, 26’, 3”.
14. David Wright, 13.44; 21. Ian Lowe, 14.35
3. Connor Seay, 26.23; 12. David Wright, 28.56; 18. Ian Lowe, 29.41
4. Jordan Reynolds, 59.52; 11. Ralph Mitchell, 1:05.76; 12. Ian Lowe, 1:07.71
1. Pedro Ochoa, 2:09.8; 5. Ralph Mitchell, 2:32.3
3. Pedro Ochoa, 4:49.5
1. Mark McGregor, 18.3
1. Connor Seay, 45.17; 2. Mark McGregor, 46.35
1. Homer, 1:45.62
1. Homer, 4:03.2
5. David Wright, 34’ 2”; 7. Jordan Reynolds, 32’, 3”; 11. Ralph Mitchell, 26’,1”; 14. Pedro Ochoa, 22’, 10”.
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