Track and field season is off to a fast start at South and North.
The Redwings broke five indoor school records at the North Invitational, and Maddie Ognacevic had a say in four of them.
The 800 relay record had stood since 2009, but Ognacevic was joined by Alayna Lloyd, Brenna Brotz and Rylee Brotz to set the new mark at 1:54.40.
Ognacevic, Lloyd, Rylee Brotz and Keeyana Judkins also set the record in the 4×240 in 2:24.10.
New long jump (16-4.5) and triple jump (32-11) marks were established by Ognacevic as well.
Coach Lisa Herber looked at the record board at the beginning of the season and knew Ognacevic was close to several records, so in practice they measured where she was at.
“And she was hitting those marks already,” Herber said. “Mainly due to the fact that she started lifting this year. So she came in way better shape than she had been previously. So it was easy. We knew going into that first meet that the long and triple for sure she was going to hit right away.”
The other South record was set by Alex Kaffine in the 400 (52.42) to erase the old mark that stood since 2011.
“Those athletes are all ones that are very self-motivated,” Herber said. “They come in knowing exactly what they need to do to get it done. And we haven’t seen that in a lot of our athletes for a while. Alex, for instance, he can come in on a given day and say this is how I feel, this is the workout I need to do. I’m going to get it done. They just come in with these goals for themselves. So it’s easy to coach that.
“The same as the girls coming out from soccer, Rylee and Alayna. They have that competitiveness. Then you add in Maddie, a three-sport athlete having a tremendous senior year in volleyball and basketball. She’s just carrying that over to track. I think a big part of it is they have this inner confidence in themselves and their athletic abilities. And they’re coming in hungry.”
At North, two freshmen have stole the show so far.
Ryan Lang won the 400 in 52.57 in the first outdoor meet of the season, which is the second-fastest freshman time in school history. The top time is 52.46, set by Jeremy Rusch in 2018.
“He’s got a tough work ethic and tough mindset,” coach Ted Schermetzler said. “The 400 is a tough race. You’ve got to have the determination with the pain of running that race. He’s obviously got some physical ability. Mother Nature blessed him that way. But he’s just got grit. I put him through a real tough workout (last week) and he came through it breathing hard. Gave him another rep and just smiles, ‘yes coach.’ He’ll do whatever you ask of him.”
Victoria Garces, a state medalist at the cross country meet, also recorded the second-best time among freshman in school history with a 11:29.45 in 3,200. Hannah Willis’ 11:25.0 was set in 2005.
“She ran all winter,” Schermetzler said. “She’s got the same grit, the same grind, the same work ethic as Ryan does.”