Track athletes compete at State


Athletes practice during the season, but they also practice during the summer putting in hours of training.
Senior Deandre (DJ) Neely Jr. and senior Zach Weitgenant, two track athletes who made it to State last year with the help of coach Tyler Woolard, have practiced a lot throughout the season to get to State.

There comes some difficulties during their journey to make it to State, and they have to overcome some obstacles in their way. Tyler Woolard, the boys track coach, was just getting to know these players for the first time.

“(I was) mainly just coming in as a first time head coach. So generating interest in the sport because in spring, you kind of have to battle it out and get interest. Kids don’t start in track like they do in baseball at three years old or whatever they start doing, and lacrosse has great feeder programs in the area. So just getting the kids to buy into the sport of track, “ Woolard said.

As the season goes on for track, the athletes have some physical preparation to do in order to be ready to take on State. Weitgenant trained for the 400s to prepare himself to conquer State.

“We did a lot of work, workouts specifically for me because it was just me. I was like the only person doing an open race. So we did a lot of 400 workouts and stuff like that just to make sure I’m physically in shape for the race,” Weitgenant said.

DJ Neely went to State for triple jump for the first time in his career. DJ had a lot on his mind during his meet.

”A lot, especially me, who has never been to the States before and me making it to State with only a month of preparation. Not that many meets but also trying to play baseball at the same time. So I will say a lot. Very nervous,“ Neely said.

When it came down to State, the track team had certain motivations to allow them to perform their best in State. Weitgenant explained what motivated him during his race.

“Honestly, like it was my first time at State during a race by myself. So it was just like, seeing what I can do about myself and seeing where I placed because it’s my junior year. I do have my senior year, which I’m in now. And so it was more like a placement like just see what I can do at the race I guess,” Weitgenant said.

As the year passed, there was a lot to say about how the track team was last year, but from a coach’s standpoint, there is always an accomplishment. Woolard had a few things to say about how he thought the team did overall last year.

“That was the most successful track season in North history. We have the most All-Conference athletes that North has ever had. And we had the most State qualifiers that North has ever had. So I think it’s pretty successful. Now we just need more guys coming to you and I think we’ll actually better our program this year,” Woolard said.

As the season came to end, Woolard was happy with the accomplishments that they achieved from the hard work of their athletes. Coach Woolard was proud to see his athletes achieve their goals from his coaching skills.

”Again, just the most exciting part is the success shown from the work we put in as coaches and the work that our athletes are putting in and seeing the level of excitement Zack makes not only for outdoor state but indoor state and seeing DJ break our school record for as a first time triple jumper coming in. So just seeing the success translates from all the work that we put in and kind of hoping that that springboards us into a good senior year for those guys,” Woolard said.