Indoor Track State Results
On Saturday, February 19, Sacred Heart competed in the Indoor Track & Field State Championships held at LSU. This meet was the cumulation of three qualifying meets throughout the season that allowed athletes to run, jump or throw fast or far enough to reach one of the Top 12 qualifying spots that competed. The day started with Olivia Boyd '22 and Elaine Marie Ehrensing '24 defying gravity in the High Jump, where both jumpers cleared the first three heights before needing to use extra attempts at the 4' 9" mark. Both cleared successfully and the competition that started with 16 jumpers was now down to eight trying to soar over 4' 11". Elaine Marie was first up and and used all three of her attempts with each one better than the last and just clipped the bar on her last one with her heel, finishing in 7th place. Olivia cleared her attempt and moved on the next height of 5' 1", where she made three nice shots at it but also came up just short and finished 4th in the rankings, scoring four points and just missing the podium on fewer misses by the 3rd place finisher.
The Long Jump was next and Lulu Real '23 and Ekua Commey '22 were both determined to jump further than their previous qualifying marks. Lulu & Ekua both made good use of their first of three attempts and improved their previous qualifying marks by nearly 1 foot each. Lulu's 15' 00" and Ekua's personal record of 14' 11.50", which was good enough for 10th and 11th respectively and a wonderful end to a very quick season.
The first running event of the competition was the 4 x 200 meter relay which had each of the four runners making their way around the 200 meter oval while holding onto the baton and completing a handoff to their teammate. Our team's handoffs and speed around each lap was better than previous times and their goal of trying to break the school record in this event was going to be a total team effort by Olivia Boyd '22 - 28.493, Malina Hull '24 - 29.864, Ekua Commey '22 - 28.491 and Lulu Real '23 - 27.827 for a total time of 1:54.68, which did break the previous school record by .20 seconds. The sidestory of this nice accomplishment is that our normal and very fast leadoff leg, Aaliyah Oro '24, caught a flat tire while en route to the meet and was sadly not able to get there in time for the race and Oliva Boyd was the alternate. The lesson learned was that one should always be prepared to step in when needed to help the team finish strong.
The 4 x 800 Meter Relay team came into the meet ranked 11th out of the 12 teams that competed, but they were definitely prepared to run faster than their qualifying time. This time each runner set their personal goal to do this and their training paid off as they each ran the four laps around while also holding the baton stick. Leah Varsico '26 in 2:42.7 positioned her team nicely by coming in 9th place while making the exchange to Katherine Bention '24. Katherine did a great job of getting out faster and pushing herself harder, which allowed her to drop 16 seconds from her previous time to finish her leg in 2:53.946 and held our place at 9th as she handed off to Katie Kleehammer '22. Katie ran a very controlled race and did exceptionally well during her Track and Field debut by finishing in 2:55.008 and made her exchange to our final leg, which was Olivia Boyd '22. When Olivia got the baton, we were still in 9th position as she began her final laps around the track. Her experience of this event, in which she is a part of the Division II State Meet record team, gave her the confidence of knowing what she could do to improve on her team's overall position. She ran a somewhat controlled first lap with some adrenaline and held close to that pace on the second lap before slightly slowing on her third as she had planned. She began making her move on her last lap and passed three teams before just being caught before the finish and ran a 2:40.909, some 11 seconds faster than her previous attempt. This secured a 7th place finish for the four runners, to finish with a time of 11:11.70, some 49 seconds quicker than qualifying.
Last up for the Cardinals was the 3200 meters, in which Leah Varisco '26 was our final competitor of the day. Leah's training may not have been up to the normal standards that she would have liked them to be, because she was also competing in basketball and soccer this winter season. To be a very competitive student-athlete at such a high level speaks volumes of her dedication to all of her commitments on each of those teams. She came into the meet with the 9th fastest time and hoped to improve on that over the course of the next 16 laps she was about to face. As the race began she positioned herself at the lead of the trail pack of the five runners that broke away early, which gave her an opportunity to push a little harder by trying to keep them in her sights. She came through the 1600 meters, the halfway point in a 6:03, which was a very good start and held over the next eight laps while fighting through a side cramp to finish with a 6:27 and a 12:30 overall for 7th place and eight seconds faster than her qualifying time.
The overall success of the indoor season and the training that all of the athletes did is a bright light at the end of the tunnel, which is the transition into the outdoor season. Progress is always a good measurement and the team made tremendous progress in understanding what is needed to be a competitive program during the upcoming months.