Girls Track Season Preview Q&A

By Danny Thompson

Girls Track Meet. Photo by Vicky Robles

The Niles West girls track team is off to a great start this year, taking first places in meets already.  With strong hurdlers, and multiple returning qualifiers from last year, the Wolves are poised to have an amazing year.  To get some insight into just what makes these girls tick, the NWN sat down with the team’s head coach, Mark Medland.

NWN: What is your team’s strongest event?

Medland:  Probably any of the girls who are returning qualifiers will help the most. We’ve got Jasmine Townsend in shot put and Sydney Hellwig in hurdles.  Our hurdles should be very strong.  Also, having one or two really good athletes who have qualified for the state meet before pushes the other girls to do better.  Some of the girls will really benefit from wanting to step up.  For example, Sunshine Simon is doing her best to run with Sydney.  So basically our best events are hurdles and throws.

NWN: What event needs the most improvement?

Medland: There’s not one where i can say “this must improve.”  In distance relays and sprint relays we’d like to put something toegether for state.  The key is putting in that time and effort, which they do.  I’d really like to get a relay down to state.

NWN: How far do you expect this year’s team to go?

Medland: We expect girls to qualify for state.  That’s usually our goal on a yearly basis.  As far as conference I’d hope for us to be a top 3 team, and that should put us in position to go downstate as well.

NWN: How do you deal with the graduation of a great runner like Kellion Gordon?

Medland: What we have to do to have someone step in is have our sprinters develop and go to our summer camp.  If we can get them involved before high school starts, that’s great.  We have great coaches at our camp.  It’s really just about getting them [our runners] and getting them early.

NWN: If you could only accomplish one thing this season, what would that be?

Medland: State qualifying.  State qualifying for as many of them as possible.

NWN: What does Niles West’s track team have that separates it from other schools?

Medland: Probably again our strengths like hurdles.  Once we get into conference everyone has strengths.  We’re very lucky to have great hurdlers and Kelly Sanks, a pole vaulter, who should help us too.  I haven’t yet found a team in our conference with strength in every event.  Our strong hurdlers and our strong field events are what people are going to see.  The girl’s willingness to compete is really the key.