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2013 Girls’ Varsity Track Preview

By Dan Poskus

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Niles West News had a chance to sit down with counselor and girls’ track coach, Mark Medland. We asked questions about how the team is looking, what their goals are, who their best runners are, and how they plan to do.

NWN: How do you plan on doing this season and how is the team looking?

Medland: “Good, but it’s the starting point. We get a lot of new girls who have been here previously. So a lot of what we do is finding where the new girls will fit based on the girls who are returning.  At this point in the season it’s really working with the girls who are returning because we know what they are capable of doing because they have been running for two or three years. The idea is where we can put the new freshman and sophomores to develop a really good varsity squad.”

NWN: What are some things you like to work on with your team?

Medland: “Again, some of the girls who are returning are state qualifiers. Senior Sunshine Simon qualified for state, so for an athlete like that, the goal is not only to return and qualify for state, but be able to be an all-state athlete. At the same time though, you want to be able to do well in your conference and in your section.  Again, we are hoping to develop enough girls where we can certainly finish in the top two teams, and to tell you the truth, the goal is always to win conference. But it’s so early in the season right now, it is a matter of how the girls begin to develop.  We have had two meets and certainly improving, but at the same time we are waiting to see those additional improvements for a full varsity squad.”

NWN: Who are some of your stand-out athletes?

Medland: “The girls who are returning from state qualifiers are certainly in that situation where they are already doing very well.  Again, Sunshine Simon is off to a great start and has placed first or second in all the events she has been placed in the first two meets. Jasmine Townsend was a basketball player, so she hasn’t been able to compete yet, but we look forward to getting her back and having her in the shot put.  A few girls who also seem to be leading the way are Sunbright SimonKatherine De Lara, and Vishna Patel.”

NWN: How hard do the girls work to be successful?

Medland: “They are working very hard. Most of the girls who come out for the team realize in the first few weeks what our goals are, and I have been very lucky over the years because I always seem to get a group of girls who understand what those goals are.  First, we want to have as many all-state athletes as possible. If our goal is to be one of the best teams in the state, then everything else should be automatic. If your goal is the top level, then certainly being one of the top teams in the state will lead to being one of the top teams in your sectional meet.”

“So again, the girls are working very hard. We practice six days a week, Monday through Saturday. So far things have gone really well, and we are really excited for all the new athletes because I think in the next few weeks we will be able to combine their abilities with the girls who are already here. We will be able to put together strong relays. Right now, we are looking at their individual strengths, and the idea is to combine the individual strengths to have strong relays.”

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