Get ready. Get set. Go off to races!


The boys are speeding their way down the track. Photo by: Gracie Shaffer

Track is off to the races. Seventh, eighth and ninth graders are starting the season strong with after school practice almost everyday at Mansion Park and at Altoona Junior High School. Practice started on March 7.  With all the events, new people and some new coaches in track this season, the nerves are rising. The first track meet for seventh and eighth was on March 31, 2016 at home, being against each other . Ninth grades first meet was on March 29, 2016 away, against Susquehanna.

“As a team we adapt better in the warmer weather,” ninth grader Lauryn Corle said.

Last year for the track season for eighth and seventh, track had to start last because how bad the weather was. This track season, track got to start early because of  how nice the weather is. Everyone in track is going to have some kind of impact. Also with the nice weather it will provide them with more things to do and more opportunities.

“With the weather being like this now, it’s going to make us practice better, will make us condition better and overall have a better season,” Liam DeAngelis, an eighth grade track runner said.

“For the weather, it may be good now but it’s not always so consistent. Even though the weather could change on us, it will still affect us in a good way because we got a head start for the season coming,” Rylee Albright, a seventh grade track thrower and jumper said.

Track practice can be hard for some or easy for some, along with track meets, they can be hard or easy for different people. At track practice athletes are pushed to do their hardest to be prepared for upcoming track meets and events. Opinions vary as to if practices or meets are harder.T

“I would say track practice is harder than a track meet because they push us very hard at practice so we will do good in meets and so it is easier to  compete in the events you do,” an eighth grade track athlete Maggie Fox said.

The new seventh graders coming into track for their first year are ready to take on the season. They have nerves here and there but most of them think they can go undefeated just like the seventh graders last year.

“Will we go undefeated? Most likely yes, because as I look at it our team is very good and hard working. Plus we all support each other, and we are all good throughout the events,” Evan Marra, a seventh grade track athlete said.  

The eighth graders rising up from seventh and some newcomers are also ready to take on the heat. For them going undefeated last year, they want to keep that record and move it on up to their eighth grade track season.

“I would like to think both seventh and eighth graders are going to go undefeated, we have some very young and talented people on the team,” Sam  Solomon , girls’ seventh and eighth grade coach said.

Ninth graders are going into a bigger change. They are working with the high school track team and some are moving up to the Varsity team where they will have more and more competition. The ninth grade track athletes are getting new coaches and new and more teammates to work with, which can be a big impact on their season.

“With the new coaches and now that we are practicing with the high school, I think it will affect the athletes in a positive way because it is more structured,” Maddie Fulchiero, a ninth grade athlete said.

The ninth grade track team also has a new event for them that is going on this year. The new event is javelin. 

“Javelin, I think, is a good idea because it is good to start early and that it takes technique,” ninth grader Jada Wolf said.

The javelin events was not just an event that someone can go into. Athletes in track had to try out. In tryouts they got to throw five times and to make the event team they had to make it into the ground four times and get a yes from the coach.

“I never tried javelin before, this was my first time trying it. It wasn’t hard for me but for others it was a little difficult considering only 10 people made it. Tryouts were just the easy part,” Gage Hill, a ninth grade javelin athlete said.

The ninth graders have a brand new season coming up for them. They are working with older kids and they have to be invited to go to the meets. They have no scheduled meets for themselves, they are only for the high schoolers.

“I think this will change the perspective on track because it is not about doing the events anymore, it is about getting the technique down to do good in the events,” Corle said.

With the season just starting out for all the grades there are far more things that can com along with the teams. All athletes and coaches are hoping Altoona track athletes seventh, eighth and ninth go undefeated for this year.

“The ninth graders and all grades will have a good season. There are many great athletes that everyone will be excited to see along with great teammates and great qualities everyone has of their own,” Damon Luciano said.

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