POLAND – For once and what felt like forever, the weather cooperated in the relief of track and field athletes who packed Dave Pavlansky Field on Saturday afternoon on a picturesque Saturday afternoon for the 26th Annual Invitational of Poland.
More than 20 schools converged for an intense Saturday afternoon of competition on the last day of April, with the regional itch growing ever closer.
Setting a new personal best is hard enough, but taking off two PRs? It was a long day at work for McDonald’s junior Megan Hipple, who started the morning with a time of 11:10.02 in the 3200 and a first place finish in the 1600 with a time of 5:15.97.
“I was just really trying to get a PR today, and I saw (Salem’s Magic Hopple) and I used it to go and just finish. If I hadn’t had that competition, that would have been a fight. Hipple said: “The competition is really helpful, especially all the girls here, they’re so positive and everyone’s cheering each other on and it really pushes your PR.
“For me, I’m just like, I gotta go with this girl, I gotta go with her, and if I can get past her, I gotta go, so that’s really my strategy.”
Hipple missed about a week into the season during a bout with plantar fasciitis, something the Blue Devils junior was able to overcome, using cycling and cross-training as a way to stay active.
Saturday made for a long afternoon, running the 3200m very early in the competition, then having to wait several hours for the 1600m, then having to wait again for the 4×400.
To say it’s a grind is to understate it.
“I love listening to music and being there with my team, all kinds of music, anything that’s motivational, anything that keeps you there, and my teammates and my coach are really good at keeping us on the right track. way.” said Hipple.
FIRST LEADS SET TEMPO
Glancing over the boy’s 1600m, Canfield’s Blake Baker had plenty of daylight between him and the rest of the peloton as they crossed the finish line on Saturday afternoon. Breathless and gassed, many other competitors come up to the Cardinals’ sophomore to congratulate him after his big win with tons of punches and smiles all around after his new personal best.
His time of 4:28.57 was nearly seven seconds quicker than second, allowing a middle-distance group of Canfield who fired on all cylinders after leading big early.
“It helps my mentality during the race, it gives me more confidence because when I’m in the lead I feel like I’m controlling and controlling the race the way I want to instead of letting someone else carry out.” said Baker. “Managing is quite difficult though, but I was able to do well today.
“Last year I finished third (at the competition), but I think it was more competitive this year. To see that I won, I’m pretty happy. My dad always told me I was the toughest man on the course, I don’t necessarily agree with that, but I think I’m a good mental rider, and that definitely helps during races .
Normally Baker enjoys training with the team, but a vacation last week meant he had to find time to race solo before the big competition.
It was a change, but one that worked.
“I had no one to pace me, so I had no one to tell me what time to hit for practices, trying to do it myself based on my effort.” said Baker. “I love our team, we did regionals last year, it’s a bond like no other I’ve been a part of, we’re like family here at Canfield.”
BIG SHOES TO FILL
Salem sophomore Kaylee Carlisle has never had the privilege of an invitational meet, previously admiring Lizzy Shontz and Kyla Jamison.
Breaking her previous personal best discus over 10 feet, winning the event with a 121-02, the Quakers pitcher made a statement on her biggest stage yet.
“I feel good, it’s time for me to shine now, since the two girls are gone, and I have to fill their shoes, follow in their footsteps”, Carlisle said.
Hitting the winning mark on one of her last throws, Carlisle tossed the disc into the sector, finally relieved to be able to throw in better weather after a difficult spring.
“I could just feel like since the release, it was really good, and I was just waiting for the mark, but I knew I was PRed,” Carlisle said. “It helps me stay focused, knowing that I can’t just come in and show up and throw it all in and win it all, I have to try to stay focused, it helps me keep my adrenaline pumping.
“I threw a lot last summer which helped me but I had a long basketball season so I’m behind the other girls in rehearsal my coach just tells me it’s a miss of reps, which is why I’m not throwing that far yet, but it’s starting to show, I just have to keep grinding it.