With the NJSIAA North Jersey 2 Group III Sectional Championships approaching on February 6, the girls winter track team looked to use the PHS Elite Meet on February 3 as a tune-up for championship season.
The Elite Meet provided PHS athletes with a chance to lower personal records and to obtain fast seed times for sectionals. Fast seed times ensure that athletes are placed in the faster heats and have better competition.
Co-Captain Lou Mialhe ’16 won the 800-meter run at the Elite Meet in 2 minutes, 23.64 seconds, and Jackie Patterson ’18 was second in 2 minutes, 27.87 seconds. Both plan to race the 800-meter run at sectionals, as well—and Mialhe will also compete in the 1600-meter and 3200-meter races.
Chloe Taylor ’18 ran a personal best of 5 minutes, 23.06 seconds in the 1600-meter run at the Elite Meet, placing third. She entered the race with the hopes of obtaining a fast seed time for sectionals, and felt that she was successful. “It builds confidence a lot—I ran pretty well,” she said. “[I had wanted to] get a good seed time, and I did.”
At sectionals, Taylor will be competing in the 1600-meter run as well as the 3200-meter run.
The team goal is to win sectionals, a feat that is within reach for the first time in several years. “[If we want to win,] we need all three of our girls to place in every single event,” Mialhe said.
To win, PHS must score the highest number of points by having athletes place anywhere from first to sixth—the higher the place, the more points. Any athlete placing will also have the chance to compete at the State Championships on February 20. And although it might have the advantage on paper, the team’s margin of victory is not expected to be very wide. “We are attempting to take the win on Saturday,” Mialhe said. “We are projected to win by only three points though, so it’s going to be tight.”
If the team does win the championship, it will not be through distance alone, however. The four by 400-meter relay team also looks to place highly. “We’re hoping to get either first or second place in the four by four,” said Co-Captain Jordan Vine ’16, who placed third in the 200-meter dash at the Elite Meet, running 26.94 seconds. “Winning sectionals … would be ideal.”
At the Elite Meet, Vine, Maia Hauschild ’16, Amy Watsky ’17, and Caren Ju ’18 combined to run a season best time of 4 minutes, 10.45 seconds in the four by 400-meter relay. Vine, Hauschild, Watsky, and Patterson will run the event at the sectional championships.
The team looks to use a combined effort to succeed at sectionals, with athletes advancing across the board. “On the distance side, we’re looking for all of our qualifiers to [qualify for] states by placing in the top six,” said Head Coach James Smirk. “That’s not to leave out the sprinters, jumpers, and throwers. They’ve been doing an absolutely phenomenal job.”
The PHS Elite Meet was, at its core, a chance to build confidence for upcoming challenges. “The goal is that we’ll be able to use what we did today come championship season,” Smirk said.