The Student News Site of Kinnelon High School

Colt Chronicle

The Student News Site of Kinnelon High School

Colt Chronicle

The Student News Site of Kinnelon High School

Colt Chronicle

Running Into Problems?

How the Kinnelon winter track team shares practice space with other sports teams

The blood-red track could only be described as a battlefield. The runners look around nervously, unsure when to expect the next attack. Suddenly, a projectile hurdles across the field, and the athletes scramble for cover. What is the name of this destructive weapon? A lacrosse ball. 

The Kinnelon winter track team shares their practice space and time with Kinnelon wrestling, and anyone who may be on the turf field. 

According to the athletes, they face many flying lacrosse balls and people interrupting important drills during practice. “It’s really hard to improve easily unless you’re constantly practicing and focusing on what you’re doing,” according to freshman Sabrina Lopez said. 

Through hardships, the team had a successful season with a variety of wins and broken records. The 4×200 relay team of Matt Kispert, Harrison Cornett, Jai Kang, and Joseph Mendy ran 1:34.93 to win the Group 1 State Championship. The Sprint Medley Relay team of Matt Kispert, Jai Kang, Joseph Mendy, and Will Portman ran 3:47.26 to qualify for the Nike National Meet. Joseph Mendy jumped 42-10 in triple jump to break the Kinnelon high school record, and Alessia Cerulo ran 5:30.75 in the 1600m to place third at the State Sectional Meet. According to Winter Track and Field Co-Head Coach Laura Chegwidden, the rest of the team ran personal records, and the coaches couldn’t be more proud. 

A regular practice for indoor track athletes starts with a loose warm-up on their half of the old gym. They walk across the room, completing exercises like skips, lunges, and toe taps. Then, the group is split into three events, distance runners, sprinters, and field events. The groups either stay inside, working in the old gym and fitness center or move to the outdoor track. Here, the athletes find themselves crammed between worlds: wrestling and lacrosse.

Outside on the track, runners avoid lacrosse balls on the ground and in the air. 

“I don’t feel safe in this area if I have lacrosse balls flying past me,” freshman Henry Manton said, pointing to a lacrosse ball rolling on the track. “Look, that is dangerous…what if I trip on it?”

According to Manton and other runners, the lacrosse players on the field are middle schoolers. The middle schoolers aren’t irritating enough to be an immense problem, but they are a nuisance to the runners trying to focus on their practice.

Lopez said, “The wrestlers constantly pick up my shot put and act like they could throw it when I know they’re about to break their arm.” Lopez added that she often has to stop to get the shot put from other people or wait for people to walk by.

Similarly, the athletes in jumping categories, like long jump and high jump, regularly stop or have to move equipment to make space for their running starts. Passersby walking through the old gym must ensure they are not interfering with any jumping practice. 

Though athletes on the winter track team may struggle with outside distractions during practice, the experience prepares them for chaotic track meets. Chegwidden said, “Everyone comes to practices with other things on their plate. We try to have everyone focus during the time they are at practice on what we are here to do and get the most out of the training.”

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