Mayo Track & Field: Predicting the unpredictable

Kat Gau, Staff Writer

It’s no secret that by the time athletes reach the high school varsity level, the competition is fierce. With futures and potential scholarships on the line every participant must give it their all on a daily basis, but in perhaps one of the most competitive sports, track and field, the competition reaches new heights, and the brutal honesty of a stopwatch forces athletes to address their shortcomings head on. As with most sports, intensity is a key driver of success. In horse racing most riders utilize blinders, which are little cones that sit atop the animals eyes to prevent them from being distracted by the riders in the adjacent lanes, and while Mayo High school has not yet employed stallions as a part of their track team, they have over 300 Spartans: all fitted out with metaphorical helmets, all focused solely on the enemy ahead of them––the clock.

Carter Holcomb, one of the leaders on Mayo’s Track and Field team, reiterated the importance of intensity but also stressed the need for balance, saying “we need to go hard in practice as we have been. Give it 100%, and get plenty of sleep, sleep is really important.” He brings up an excellent point: oftentimes athletes focus solely on the grueling training regiment or narrow their diet down to the barebones chicken broccoli and rice, but forget entirely about the necessity that is recovery time. A former state competitor himself, Carter knows a thing or two about reaching that top level in high school, which bodes well for the team as he is confident in their chances this year: “we are going to win all conference, go to state, and I know a lot more of my teammates will be there with me this year. We have the ability and the team.”

In ancient Sparta women often enjoyed more rights than their Greek counterparts, however if they were to look upon the Spartans of today they would swell with pride, as the girls track and field team are equally fierce warriors as the boys. Hannah Hanson explained to me that this year is somewhat of a rebuild for the team, as many of their star athletes graduated and as she said herself “we are in a completely different section this year, so new girls, new competition, and you never know anything could happen.” Despite the nuances and uncertainties of this coming season, Hannah is confident in the girl’s chances at state, which she attributes largely to her training.  She says “we work hard but still have fun. Part of track is seeing your friends, chatting, enjoying yourself, so long as you make sure not to lose focus, and train hard.”

Camaraderie and teamwork are an ever-present element in track and field, even in individual events, and the 2022 girls team are reportedly always at each other’s sides––shields raised and helmets on. In a sport where a fraction of a second means the difference between first and last, it is always a turbulent and unpredictable ride, but by recognizing the components of winning and diligently applying them to each day’s practice, one can turn the odds back in their favor, and turn the uncertain to a reality.