Track and Field Spring Preview

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Candance Sobotka

NA Track and Field participants wait before practice at the beginning of the new season.

Virginia Malkin, Staff Writer

A kid flies down the track and applause fills the air. This is what a normal day of Spring Track and Field is for NA athletes.

As Sophomore Michael Gaunter put it, “I actually think it’s a very healthy environment because everyone gets along with each other. it’s just a fun place to go and relax after school.”

Every year student-athletes set goals for themselves as Coach Neff always says, “try to get better each day.” Among them is Sophomore Varsity Long Distance Runner Micheal Gauntner, who says he wants to, “Make it to state.”

In order to achieve that goal, Gaunter says he needs to train hard, eat, properly, drink water, and sleep. Gauntner adds he has to do a lot of mental work. 

Student-Athletes also need to make sure their bodies are physically fit. Gaunter said, “You have to make sure your legs are in proper shape… by constantly training while taking the right amount of breaks and the proper amount of breaths.

Moreover, Student-Athletes have fun in the process of training. Gaunter said his favorite part of Track is running with friends. 

In addition to having fun with friends, Track Athletes are always trying to improve. Head Track and Field Coach Neff said, “We have a full gamut of activities to make everyone faster leg speed, and speed and endurance.” This allows track Athletes to become faster and better overall.

Our goal is always to win the WIPPIAL Championship, but at the same time we want every student on the team to be challenged be set up for success in their events as well as other events that are outside their comfort range.”

— Coach Neff

Like Gaunter, coaches set goals for the team individually and as a whole. Coach Neff said, “Our goal is always to win the WIPPIAL Championship, but at the same time we want every student on the team to be challenged be set up for success in their events as well as other events that are outside their comfort range.” 

Neff also said all the coaches like to put kids in situations where they are not sure if they can succeed, and help them succeed, causing the kid to build more confidence.

As a student-athlete, hard work is also important to achieve goals, as Neff stated, “individually we would like for each kid to see the harder they work, the more success they will have.”

Neff also said, “That success is more not about what happens to them but more about what they can decide.”

Coaches coach Track to help students improve at their goals. Neff said,” I coach track because I know how it can make a difference in a person’s life–I saw what it did for me.”

Neff added, “I was a shy scrawny kid years ago, and,you know, didn’t have a lot of self-confidence, and through Track I was able to meet success and realize that I can achieve things that I want to. I can do more than just be active.”

Some people have the perception that Track and Field is not a sport for everyone, but as Coach Neff puts it, “I think that there is going to be a kid out there who thinks they are not athletic or [they] don’t fit in or can’t determine their own success level. I think that track is for them and they should give it a try.”

Track and Field is a sport that starts in 7th grade. North Allegheny students can participate in this sport all the way to 12th grade. Students learn techniques through coaching on how to improve their running form, improve their breath support, and technique for each individual event.