The Issaquah High Girls’ Track & Field Team 

Jane Harig, Staff Writer

When we find that the cold air is starting to drift away, and sunshine and green grass are coming our way, you can tell it is the spring sports season. The track suddenly becomes more used than ever before. Whether it be the pounding feet of sprinters and long-distance runners, maybe with a few sudden jumps over a hurdle. Perhaps on the sides of the track, a swift pole vault or an impressive long jump, or high jump in its respective corner. Maybe it is the throw of a javelin, moving instantaneously through the air, alongside the discus and shotput. 

Athletes and coaches work together, with team spirit on a high, to practice hard, compete harder, and always be there for each other. With a team larger than the cross-country team (due to the addition of sprints, throwing, and jumps), there are quite a lot of athletes out there. 

Meets are more exciting than ever, with a mix of all kinds of events, whether it be two hundred hurdles, the long eight-lap two mile, or, to finish off the competition, a four-by-four relay, batons and all!  

One important thing is how close the team is. Getting to run with people every day creates a bond like never before. Sophomore Natalee Johnsrud states, “My favorite thing about track is the community and how supporting everyone is, and getting to run with my friends every day.” A lot of people like to point out how track does not have a high intensity. For example, Johnsrud also says, “When you finish you feel very accomplished, it’s a very chill sport. It’s not intense and if you do other sports. It’s a good way to keep in shape for other sports.” 

Senior Charlotte Dennie, who ran track in middle school as well as her sophomore and junior year, says, “I did track all throughout middle school and sophomore (like two weeks before COVID), junior years, and this year!” Dennie highlights how important the team is for her, saying, “The people are so nice and encouraging and it is such a supportive group. Running also feels so good and it’s something I love working on. Doing it with a team of people who also loves it is such an amazing feeling.” 

Pre-race nerves, goals for the season, and preparing for races are all something the athletes face on the team and as a team. Dennie says, “I have goals for time in both the 400 and 800. I’m hoping to work on calming my pre-race anxiety and improving my focus and mental toughness during races. I’m also hoping to grow closer in bonds with the team and leave this last season with no regrets.” 

Junior Nina Kowalska, who runs distance and did cross-country, adds on by saying, “Everyone is nice. There are good vibes,” and “I like that at practice we can still run trails. It’s refreshing that meets are different.”  

Sometimes school can be overwhelming (sometimes may be an understatement), but track can provide a lot for your mental health; a moment of fresh air, exercise, time to vent to your friends about all the homework you have, or maybe a time to forget school and talk about what is going on in life besides that. Supporting your teammates is part of the package deal when it comes to joining a team sport like track and field. 

With a large group practicing, there is often bustling people heading in different directions. Discus, shotput, and javelin make their way up to the hill to practice their throws, pole vault and long jump and high jump find their way to their areas of expertise, with sprinters on the track and distance either working on alongside them or heading off to the trails in a cross-country like fashion.  

But words of encouragement never cease to exist at practice. Freshman Henry Tait agrees with that important point: “I like track because the atmosphere and the people that are there. Everyone is really nice.” 

What is it like for newcomers, such as freshman, or others who have not found themselves at the large Pride and Tradition stadium and the large red oval around the field? Freshman Solé Miller, who does pole vault, says, “I really like hanging out with all my friends, and when you spin and then you vault you have an out of body experience.” 

Veteran runner and senior Hunter Scheppat states, “What I really like about track is the ability to try new things. Sprinting, distance, throwing, jumping. It’s really such a versatile sport with a ton of different options,” and adds to anyone thinking of joining, “If anyone is interested in trying any of these things and being part of an awesome and fun team, come out for track.” 

Sometimes it can be scary to try something new, to push yourself in competition like never before, but being brave and believing in yourself is a key aspect of sports, and that idea does not lack in the area of running, throwing, and jumping. Meets are exciting, having your teammates cheer you on just as much as you are cheering on yourself. Something about pushing yourself and working so hard together creates a bond like no other. And sometimes it is nice to just throw on some running clothes, get out in the open air, and (not to sound cheesy here) have conversations with your friends that will end in laughter, smiles, and memories. 

Charlotte Dennie says it perfectly, stating her favorite part about coming to practice each day is “seeing my teammates’ smiling faces and doing the usual ‘how was your day?’ conversations with everyone! Hugs are always welcome. Everyone is always so cheerful, and the energy is contagious.” She advises to anyone out there pondering the idea of doing track, “DO IT. The team is incredibly welcoming, supportive, and kind no matter how much or how little experience you have. The relationships you build with your teammates and everything that you learn from them, and running is irreplaceable.” 

You heard it here, folks. Interested in being part of a team that includes so many options? Ready to push yourself physically and mentally in a race or competition? Wanting to spend more time with friends from school, but not in a classroom? Never forget to not consider track. Whether it be your sole focus, training for a different sport you do, or just something you are interested in trying, because, hey, why not? Track it is! Can’t wait to see you out there!