The girls track team has made it to states. Not only will the 4×8 (four people running 800 meters) team run, consisting of freshman Ana Tucker, sophomore Maija Rettelle, junior Emily Wall, and senior Beth Hoffman, but two of its members, Rettelle and Wall, will be running the open 800, and senior Amanda Kline will be high jumping. The 4×8 team has a personal record (PR) of nine minutes thirty seconds, Wall has a best time of two minutes fifteen seconds in the 800 and 58.41 seconds in the 400, Rettelle’s best time for the 800 is two minutes seventeen seconds, and Kline’s highest jump is a whopping five feet, four inches.
“I feel honored to be part of a relay team that’s as good as the one I’m on. I’m just excited,” Tucker said about running the 4×8,
“It’s less nerve-racking than last year because last year we got third at regionals, and only qualified for states by a second,” Rettelle said. “But this year, we got first. Hopefully I’m able to [PR], but I don’t know how it’s gonna go. Hopefully after running the 4×8 at, two-fifteen-ish, then, I don’t know, maybe run the [open] 800 at two sixteen.”
Most people were not surprised about the girls going to states.
“I knew the 4×8 team was going, and I knew Emily [Wall] was placing on her own,” sophomore Alex Batha said, a middle to long distance runner. However, junior and middle to long distance runner Jenna Oskvarek was a little surprised.
“I expected a couple of girls to go, like Emily Wall, Maija Rettelle, Ana Tucker,” she said. “I didn’t necessarily think the [4×8] team was going to go…because it was so iffy on who was running each week. It was never a set team. But I think separately, yeah, they were gonna go to states. They’ll probably place.”
Both Rettelle and Tucker are a little concerned about the hand off between them. The order for the race is Hoffman, who will hand off the baton to Rettelle, who will hand if off to Tucker, and Tucker will give the baton to Wall, the anchor. The anchor is usually the fastest person on a relay team, placed last to pick up any slack lost by the other members.
“I’m more concerned about the hand-off then the actual running part,” Tucker said. During practice, their coach, Jed Hopfensperger, had them practice the hand-offs multiple times, trying to get them as close to perfect with them as possible.
“I’m hoping that my hand-off to Ana will be really good, or better than it’s been going. Sometimes she goes out too slow, and there’s gonna be a lot of people, so it’s gonna be really hard for the first hand-off. Last year I ran into a girl…there were probably eighteen teams, and they were all coming in at once, and it was just a mess.”
Their teammates are proud of the girls who made it. “I feel very happy for them,” Batha said. “I know they worked really hard, and they definitely weren’t slacking off, they went to every practice and they knew what they were doing.” Middle to long distance runner sophomore Caroline Theurkauf was enthusiastic about the girls going to states. “They’re gonna do amazing,” she says with a grin.
Noticeably, though the team has a total of eight entries for the girls, there are no guys going to the meet. “I didn’t really expect any guys to go,” Oskvarek said. “They haven’t really had a history of any guys going to states. I think there was a couple guys that had the possibility of making it to states, but I didn’t really expect anyone to go. The guy’s 4×2 team, I expected might go.” The guys that had the possibility of going, she said later, were junior sprinters Ben Deruyter and Jeremy Contardi. Freshman Maxwell Morey agreed, saying he was surprised that the two didn’t make it.
Contardi, however, who’s best time for the 100 is 11.48 seconds, didn’t expect to go. “I’m a junior,” he said. “Usually, you’re your fastest when you’re a senior, but I was the only junior in regional finals, so I figured I wouldn’t make it.” He also didn’t think any guys would make it in general. “Nobody really stood out this year,” he said.
At states, the girls did well. The 4×8 team got eighth place, making all-states, and the team PRed by about a half a second, a time of 9.29.91. They rolled in only five seconds after the seventh place team, Rochester Adams, and about twenty-eight seconds behind the first place team. The Dow team was placed for fifth.
Emily Wall narrowly missed eighth place in the open 800 by only a hundredth of a second, running a new personal record of 2.14.73. She was beaten by Midland High girl Amy Smith. “[Emily’s] beat Amy before,” said freshman Heleyna Tucker, a middle-to-long distance runner who was at the meet to support her twin sister, Ana. “I bet she was a little surprised about that.” She also made sure to point out that the girl’s hand-offs went well and there were no mishaps. Maija Rettelle made fourteenth place and got a time of 2.17.04. First place for the girl’s 800 made the time of 2.20.10.
Amanda Kline jumped a height of five feet four inches and got fifth place, making all-states. Girl’s first place jumped a height of five feet seven inches.
Overall, Oak Park won states with both genders with 81.5 points in girls and 55 points in boys. Dow High got thirty-sixth place in girl’s with a total of five points.
If you would like to see all results for the state meet, click here.
By: Madeleine J Jones