EHHS girls' varsity track ready to run

By Frances Taylor - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Fri., Apr. 8, 2011
The EHHS girls' varsity track team getting ready for the season. Photos by Frances Taylor.
The EHHS girls' varsity track team getting ready for the season. Photos by Frances Taylor.

“This is my first season as coach – I previously coached the boys team about six years ago, then I left to pursue my degree,'' said  East Hartford High School track coach AJ Laplant. “We have a young team, a lot of freshmen and sophomores. But we have some good sprinters and distance runners.'' Laplant is helped by assistant coaches Rick Wood and Mark Brown.

"We had a meet [April 6], and we lost, but I'm not worried about it," said Laplant. "It's still early in the season. I think they took in stride.''

Laplant said the inclement weather has made it hard to get practices in. “I try to come out as much as possible, but there have been some days where we just had to run through the halls. We also use the pool sometimes for conditioning – I have them do sprinting exercises in the pool.''

Laplant noted that several players from last year's team have go on college track teams, and three former EHHS girls track stars are currently at Connecticut State University. “We had two members set records and qualify for the states from the first meet,'' he said. “Tyla Gedeon almost set a school record in the hurdles, and Akia Leach took first place in the shot-put. ''

Akia Leach, who competes in shot-put, javelin and discus, said she is hoping to set similar records with the javelin and discus. “I feel our team has the potential to do whatever they set out to do,'' she said.

Laplant said the team is working on winning races. "But it's not just about winning races – it's about improving, running faster, jumping higher. We’ll be working to see improvement in everyone and making it fun.''

Spotlight players to watch:

Nnyeko Griffiths – senior, captain - 100, 200 meter races, long jump

I'm doing pretty well, I feel like I am improving all the time. I think the meet went well under the circumstances. I've had a strained quad and hamstrings, and now I am having a problem with my hip flexor. But the trainer says I can run on it, and I am pushing it, which I feel strengthens it. I'm working to get better and better.''

Liz Marchand – senior, captain – 1600, 800 meter races, 4 x 100 relay

“I got my best time in the 400 in the April 6 meet, and I won the 1600 meter race. It was really exciting. I'm going to be working hard to bring that time down this season. Our team has a lot of talent and working to get even better.''

Tyla Gedeon – senior, captain – 100, 300 meter hurdles, 4x100, long jump

“I almost set a school record in the April 6  meet, and I placed 8th in the state overall. I'm going for the school record next time. I'm also going to be doing the decathlon later this year. I'm going to encourage the team to believe in themselves, because that's where it all starts.''

Coach's Corner

AJ Laplant – first season as coach –

It's not just about winning races - it's about improving – running faster, jumping higher. We'll be working to see improvement in everyone, and making it fun.''

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