Girls track competing for today... and tomorrow

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., May. 6, 2011
(L to r) Deryca Johnson, Briona Wallace and Cara Manfredi run the 100-meter race during a meet vs. Weaver on May 3. Photos by Steve Smith.
(L to r) Deryca Johnson, Briona Wallace and Cara Manfredi run the 100-meter race during a meet vs. Weaver on May 3. Photos by Steve Smith.

With more than 100 athletes on the Glastonbury High School girls’ track team, it's easier to have depth in all the separate competitions, as well as great camaraderie between the more-experienced runners and their less-experienced teammates.

The torch is about to be handed down in some events, as this season will be the last for record-breaking distance-runner Lindsay Crevoiserat, as well as Cara Dorris, who is also usually among the top three in distance.

At the meet versus Weaver on May 3, Dorris was winning the 1600-meter race, but that was almost secondarily important to her coaching and cheering on a younger teammate who was close behind.

Coach Brian Collins said his top distance runners, which also include junior Reid Watson, haven't faced serious challenges yet, but are using the dual meets to prepare for the bigger meets. Some of them, who have already qualified for the state and conference meets, are running shorter races and treating the one-on-one meets as workouts.

Crevoiserat, who normally competes in the 800-, 1600-, and 3200-meters, ran in the 400, 800, and 4x400 versus Weaver.

“She's doing two events that she normally doesn't do,” Collins said, adding that Watson is following a similar pattern, and that “cross-training” should benefit the team, by allowing more flexibility at meets, as well as for the individuals.

“It gives us a chance to get them into some different events,” he said. “That way, you're not running the 32 [hundred meters] in every single meet. We're trying to move kids around a little bit. Some of them are running three or four events per meet. It gives us more options at the end of the season.”

For example, Junior McKenzie Hollenbaugh, Collins said, could likely qualify for the 100 meters, 200 meters, 100-meter hurdles, 400-meter hurdles and relay races.

“People like that give us more options at the end of the season,” Collins said. “It will allow us to decide where they will help the team more.”

Collins said a lot of underclassmen have made great strides this year, and the team's continued success (they won the Class LL state title in 2010) looks good.

Hollenbaugh and Watson are set to lead the team next year, Collins said.

“We have good seniors that we're going to be losing, but we have a lot of good freshmen, sophomores and juniors.”

“Reid gives us an option in the 4x800, the 1600 and 3200,” Collins said. “She won the Irv Black Invitational [in the 3200-meter race] by 20 or 30 seconds and she ran by herself the whole time. She may have the fastest time in the state. She's strong, and she's running really well right now.”

“Hollenbaugh's one of the top hurdlers in the state,” Collins added. “She is the state open indoor champion in the 55-meter hurdles. In the outdoor season, she's one of the best 100 and 300 hurdlers. She works really hard, and is one that we'll benefit the most from in other events.”

The bonus for Collins is that those two are not only great now, but have another year.

“It's great to have some kids who are among the best in the state, who you know are back for another year,” he said.

In general, Collins said the team has remained healthy this year, and the goal is to stay that way through the last meets, and hopefully continue to win in the meantime. But, for each athlete, it's also a matter of challenging oneself.

“You have to know that you're not always going to win,” Collins said, “and prepare yourself physically and mentally each day, because you know there's going to be a time when you're not at 100 percent, and won't have your A-game. You have to be prepared for that, as a team, and individually.”

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