Senior high-jumper a stand-out on SWHS track team
By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Wed., Feb. 16, 2011
The South Windsor High School girls’ indoor track team coach, John Salcius, has been with the team for four seasons. “I enjoy the kids and it keeps me young,” said Salcius. This year, SWHS had several athletes qualify for the state tournament held on Feb. 11, including one who continued to the state open.
Senior Alex Shaw qualified to compete in the state tournament for both hurdles and long jump. Even though she ran her fastest time in the hurdles at the Feb. 11 tournament, it was not enough to qualify her for the state opens.
Shot putter Alisha Barrett, also a senior, qualified for the state tournament before breaking a finger on her right hand. For the rest of the season, she practiced left-handed. “She just missed her school record by three-quarters of an inch,” said Salcius.
Unfortunately for senior Jen Dean, who qualified for the state tournament for both high-jump and shot put, a back injury kept her from competing in the tournament.
Senior Preethi Vaidyanathan won the high jump competition at the Lindy J. Remigino Invitational with a height of 5 feet, which tied her own indoor high jump record. Vaidyanathan’s record this season is 5 feet, 3 inches. Although she did not jump 5 feet at the state tournament, she still came in second with a jump of 4 feet, 10 inches, and qualified to compete in the state open. “If she clears 5 feet, she’s got an outside shot to qualify for the New Englands,” noted Salcius. Six of the athletes at the state open have jumped over 5 feet, and only the top five jumpers move forward to the New Englands.
“My season’s been going well,” said Vaidyanathan. She uses indoor track to develop speed and strength in preparation for the outdoor track season. She is considering trying the triple jump for the spring season.
Vaidyanathan realizes that indoor high jump has been beneficial to her in multiple ways. First, it gave her something to do after school during the winter. She also found that it became true competition for her, as she developed a rivalry with specific athletes. In addition to the competition, practicing the high jump helps in developing specific goals. “It’s hit or miss,” said Vaidyanathan, explaining that it is very clear if she has reached the height goal or not.
In addition, her accomplishments in track have been a benefit when applying to colleges. Vaidyanathan will be studying engineering and identified schools with strong engineering programs, but she has also been recruited by these schools for her high-jumping skills. “It’s a huge factor,” said Vaidyanathan. “Having this accomplishment on my resume really does help.”
Many high-jumpers are tall. Vaidyanathan is 5 foot 9 inches. “It helps because the bar is not at eye level,” she said about the benefit of being tall.
Vaidyanathan recommends that any athletically-inclined person should definitely do track. “You can find some event that’s a good fit,” she said. Track can also provide different levels of competition for those who seek it out, or for those who are looking more for the social aspects of the team sport.