Plainfield South Indoor Invitational & Batavia Distance Madness, 3.9.2018

Post date: Mar 12, 2018 2:22:13 AM

T.R. would have enjoyed watching track and field on Friday night.

In March 1909, Theodore Roosevelt began a journey through Africa where he led an expedition for the Smithsonian Institute. Throughout the next year, he and his people collected more than 11,000 animal specimens to be sent back to America and cataloged.

On his way home, the former president stopped in Paris at the Sorbonne, known as one of the most prestigious centers of knowledge in the world. There he gave his “Citizenship in a Republic” speech. Today it is better known as “The Man in the Arena” speech.

Here is its most famous section:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Roosevelt applauded those who put themselves out there, who weren’t afraid to fail. And every time track and field athletes begin their competitions, they are putting themselves in a place of scrutiny, and they are being judged.

Some Minooka athletes took that to another level at the Plainfield South Indoor Invitational. Because the majority of the distance squad was competing at Batavia, there were opportunities to run in distance events for sprinters. It’s one thing to step to the line in an event you have trained for, it’s another to do so in an event whose distance is often the sum of your typical workout.

But step to the line they did, in the 4x800-meter relay (Abby Rivara, Olivia Adams, Jada Anthony, Amanda Boban), 800-meter run (Erin Matthias), and 1600-meter run (Celeste Torres). They competed for competition’s sake, and they competed to gain points for the team. They were outside their comfort zones and putting themselves in an even more vulnerable place of scrutiny.

Roosevelt said, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena … .” I’m sure he meant women, too.

There’s also an extra layer of anxiety when it’s your first competition of the year, like it was for varsity basketball players (there were 3), or when you’re coming back from an injury (there were at least 5). All were putting themselves in the arena.

Minooka had success Friday night, both at the Plainfield South arena and the Batavia arena, and by athletes both inside and outside their comfort zones.

At Plainfield South, Minooka’s varsity placed 4th; Lemont and Lincoln-Way West tied for 1st. Minooka’s JV were champions. Minooka had more points combined in the varsity and JV levels than any of the other 8 teams.

On the varsity level, Eryn Renison won the 400-meter dash with an indoor best time. Katelyn Gall did her one better in the pole vault, not only winning with a personal best, but also breaking her own school record.

Aaliyah Young won the triple jump, and Sydney Andreano was just behind her in second. Both were out-jumped by Brooke McNally, who won the JV level. With Emma Wiegmann, they made history. They combined to be the first group of four ever to all jump over 30 feet in one arena on the same day.

In shot put, Madison Thompson, La’Nayah Nance, Alyssa Ritchie, and Andreano all set personal bests on the same day. Ritchie’s was good enough to place her 2nd on the JV level.

More JV success:

    • Alexis Mata, Jenna Seloover, Kyndall Ross, and Ariana Coste combined to both win the 4x200-meter relay and set a new freshman indoor school record.
    • Bella Encinas, in her high school debut in the 3200-meter run, won it.
    • Kylie Wissel, Julie-Ann Kasky, Ava Bezaire, and Allison Quinn won the 4x400-meter relay.
    • Bachmann won the JV long jump in her first meet of the year.
    • Meghan Marchio won the pole vault.
    • Katelyn Egetimier ran a tough 1600-meter race and set a personal record in finishing 2nd.
    • Matthias, shortly before running her 800, finished 2nd in the 55-meter hurdles with a personal best time.

Altogether there were 22 personal bests set by MInooka at Plainfield South.

In other arena at the elite Batavia Distance Madness meet, where no team score was kept, Minooka picked up several personal bests.

Vivian Van Eck was one of those, finishing 5th in the 3200-meter run.

Emily Shelton was another top 10 finisher, placing 7th in the 1600-meter run.

Of the 10 Minooka girls who ran at Batavia, 6 clocked personal bests.

We don’t win every race, nor do we always set personal bests. Sometimes we flatout fail. But running a race far outside our comfort zone, trying to compete after a rehabbed injury, or just allowing ourselves to be publically judged for a performance sets us apart from those on the sidelines.

And there’s a certain amount of courage in that.

Go Minooka!

– Coach Thomas