Track Has Speedy Start; Captain Dlesk ’03 Leads

The Girls’ Track team started out with a bang this season. The girls just could not wait to get the season started. Captain Katie Dlesk ’03 and team were so anxious, in fact, that they held their time trials a week before finals. December 6th was the day for the girls track stars to strut their stuff. The ladies had not even been on the track for two weeks, with practice starting the week before Thanksgiving break. At time trials, newcomers were given the opportunity to try out all of the events. The ladies were put through a set of rigorous tests including the long jump, high jump, pole vault, shot put, sprinting, hurtles, and long distance. After these, the newcomers chose the events they were interested as well as those that coaches thought they should try. While the newcomers were getting a sense of the sport, veterans were practicing hard, as they are all looking forward to the prospect of a new season. The ladies will be pushing their limits, breaking old personal records, and making this season as successful and fulfilling as those of the past. After Thanksgiving break, during which most of the girls continued training and building up strength, practice resumed. It was the second half of Dean’s week, a week dreaded by all. At the end of a long week of hard academic work, mixed with an increasingly difficult training schedule, it was time for time trials. It was an opportunity for returning athletes to show they hadn’t lost their touch in the Cage. For the new girls it was a time to test their ability and to prove themselves to coaches and teammates. The distance divas started the afternoon in style with a slew of impressive performances. The longest distance time trialed was the one mile, dominated by returning cross country stars. Lizzy Fraser ’04 finished first with a time of 5:58 and was the only Andover girl to break six minutes. The second and third finishers, Alison Murphy ’05 and Celia Alexander ’04, crossed the line together with a time of 6:16. Murphy ran the mile last year during indoor track while Alexander played hockey. Alexander does have running experience, having finished first in the JV Cross Country Interschols this past fall. The 1000 meter was also taken by a star cross-country runner. Coming off of a successful rookie cross-country campaign, Lissie Robie ’04 crossed the finish line with a blazing time of 3:05. Finishing second with a time of 3:21was field hockey player Natasha Pakravan ’04, a newcomer to track and long distance. Cristina Hartmann ’03, also new to track, finished third at 3:31. Rounding off the long distance trials was the 600 meter. Two juniors, show promise in this event. Rebecca Howe and Sarah Gershkong finished at 1:50 and 1:58 respectively. Newcomers dominated the jumping events. For the long jump, Howe jumped 14’ 5.5” and rowing PG Jess Lehmann ’03 jumped 13’9”. For the high jump, veteran Cassie Tognoni ’05 jumped 14’8”. Tognoni shows promise in many events, with good finishes in the 50 yard dash and the hurdles. For shot put, Erin O’ Hearn ’03, who competed at the Junior Olympics in this event, threw an impressive 34’9”. Also throwing were Ciarra Schmidt ’05 and Lily Kelting ’04. For the hurdles, Emma Etheridge ’04 finished first at 8.9 and Martha Schnure ’06 second at 9.0. Mariah Russell ’04 and Tognoni tied for third at 9.3. School record holder Anne Riordan ’03 did not race due to injury. Although the ladies performed well in all events, the event of the day was definitely the 50 yard dash. Returning stars Jackie Latina ’04 and Katie Dlesk ’03 finished with times of 6.2 and 6.4 respectively. Courtney McBride ’03 rounded out the top three with a time of 6.5. Andover’s relays look to a season of blazing races, and hopefully, record-breaking. Captain Dlesk has “high hopes for this season.” She added, “We’ve been winning for a while now; I can’t even remember the last time we lost. I think our challenge will be to rise to the occasion and to push ourselves a little more than usual. We’ll have a great season, the team is a great bunch of girls, and hopefully we’ll win a lot. That would make me happy.” Tomorrow, a select group of girls will make the trek up to the even colder and snowier town of Hanover, New Hampshire where they will compete in the first invitational of the season, the prestigious Dartmouth Relays. These girls are truly the best of the best. With promising results from time trials, the ladies in Blue will look to leave their mark in Hanover.