By Jacqueline Fletcher, Staff Writer
This year, Trinity Hall added winter track to its winter sports season to provide a comprehensive program for runners who now have the ability to run in all three sports seasons: cross country in the fall and track in the winter and spring. This first season of winter track proved to be successful and showed much promise for the coming years.
The team, composed of 14 dedicated student-athletes, put in long hours, often training outside in the cold winter weather or traveling to Brookdale Community College in Lincroft to run indoors. Although about four runners were injured during the season due to skiing accidents, concussions and fractures, the team prevailed.
“There were a lot of days that we did have to compete with the elements, but the girls practiced outside everyday or at Brookdale, which worked out great,” said head coach Tony Avalone, who was assisted by Maria Crowley. “We had a lot of fun, and it was a great and very exciting season.”
When asked about his thoughts for next year’s season, Avalone said, “We lost a few girls due to skiing accidents, so there will be no skiing allowed over Christmas vacation; that’s rule one. I am hopeful and excited about next year especially with another class coming in. Ideally, I’d like to have up to 20 girls [on the team], and as we move forward, I’d like to add events for the girls to compete in that we are not doing presently like high jumping, shot putting and hurdling.”
As a first-year team, many people would have expected substantial losses due to the team’s small size and inexperience (none of the runners had ever competed in winter track prior to this season); however, that was not the case. Sophomore Pallavi Kawatra qualified for the Meet of Champions, an elite track meet for the best high school runners in NJ. Kawatra, who qualified with her time of 5:50 in the 1600 meter race, was proud of and impressed by her team this year since they were able to place well in a some of the sectional meets despite being a team of mostly freshman athletes.
Isabelle Grimes, a freshman who began running this year, was also pleased with the outcome of this season. “Because there is such a small number of girls on the team with such amazing coaches, we received 1-on-1 training very often. This helped me get better as a runner.”
Mairead Mark, who is now a three-season runner, said, “I think this year went well. We accomplished our goals and we shared a lot of laughs. I had a great time during the winter track season, and I plan on participating again next year.”