A Day in the Life: Track and Field

This article is the fifth installment of “A Day in the Life," a series of articles where a staff member of The Voice gets a feel for what it is like to be a student athlete. For this month, reporter Elizabeth Reinhardt joined the Presentation Track and Field during one of their practices at Bellarmine College Preparatory .


Lauren Thomason

Elizabeth Reinhardt, Reporter

It’s a sunny afternoon at Bellarmine College Preparatory, and when I get out the car I immediately begin to question the decision I have made a mere two weeks ago. I have no idea where I am going or what to do, and I stick out like a sore thumb. My body is in no way prepared for what I am about to put it through in the next hour and with each step towards the track I become more and more nervous. I am not a runner, let alone a pole vaulter, so you could say that when I decided to join Track and Field for a day, I had no idea what I was getting into.

Track and Field is one of the largest teams at Pres, with 85 students currently on the roster. It can be so confusing that the best way to describe it is as “a three ring circus,” according to Varsity Coach Catherine Aquino. And if you think that 85 students is a lot, remember that you also need to add in the both Bellarmine and Notre Dame Track teams; as well as the Bell Rugby Team, who use the field along with the track teams.

That being said, it is no wonder that when I arrived I was completely lost. Before arriving at practice, I had no idea that other people besides my fellow classmates would be practicing, and after spending eight hours a day around all females, it was a little strange to see so many boys. Nonetheless, I changed into my barely used running shoes and joined the team.

In track, each event practices separately and has its own coach. Yet despite each event doing their own separate thing, all members are required to warm up and run around the track, as a way to help prevent injury during practice. I also soon came to realize that with everyone running around everywhere, you have to be careful not to collide into someone by accident, something a clumsy person like me would do.

I noticed that whenever I stood on the track during warm-ups, a runner would always yell “track” to me after I had moved out of the way. Of course I thought that this was weird at first. “Yes, I know I am on a track, thank you for telling me,” I thought.

However, it was only after practice that Coach Aquino explained to me that “track” really meant “get out of the way!” and in retrospect, all those people shouting at me finally makes sense.

After general warm-ups, I decided to join the hurdles team for their beginning of practice. I am not a coordinated person, nor a person who likes to run. So the idea of having to run and jump over something frightened me, a lot. Although the hurdles were not skyscrapers, they did come up to a little below my waist. I have issues jumping over something that high in general. Add running into the mix and the outcome is almost always a disaster.

Time and commitment are very important in hurdles. If you decide at the last miniature not to jump, then the consequences are some serious bruises. At first I had a hard time with this commitment, because the idea of voluntarily throwing myself over a hurdle and hopefully landing with my feet on the ground was completely crazy.

“Hurdles are really hard but easy at the same time. You have to work with it though and find your mojo,” says Senna Kadah, a junior on the hurdles team. However, as I practiced more and more with swinging my legs over the hurdle, it became easier to find a rhythm, and eventually I stopped getting trapped in between the hurdles.

The next team to join was the field events. Before attending this practice, I thought that for discus, all you had to do was throw it as far as you can. Although this is the goal, discus is also about form. In discus, you originally have to have both hands on the discus but end your throw by releasing it with one hand. However, the throw is only possible with one hand if you are able to build up enough momentum. Of course, I was not able to get enough momentum when I tried, and as a result the discus really only went about fifteen feet in front on of me.

After my miserable failure in discus, the next event to join was pole vaulting. Unfortunately, I was not able to try pole vaulting because there was a high possibility that I would end up in a full body cast. I did observe, however, and all I can say is that what these girls do is outrageous. If I had a hard time committing to jumping over a hurdle, then there was no way I could have been able to force my body over a pole 11 feet into the air.

Sydney Jaques, a junior who started pole vaulting the summer before her freshman year, says she fell in love with the sport “I like that it’s different from every other sport. It’s really hard. No one can just pick up a pole and be able to do it.”.

And while it may seem that Track and Field is all hard work with no reward, it could not be farther from the truth. The support that these girls receive from their teammates is indescribable.

“When you first you first come out, you know no one and by the end of the season you have 90 new friends,” says senior Gabbi Sanfilippo, a member of the sprints team. “Even though you don’t know the person, everyone is really supportive and cheers you on when you run and motivates you.”

Even though my talent for Track and Field was not evident that day, the kindness from the girls and friendship between them was. “I really like the team,” says senior Casey Morris, who does sprints as well as jumps. “We have a lot of fun.”