Woodward Relays Invitational Meet introduces Blazers to the Steeplechase
Written by Johanna Gretschel (not an official Silver Chips reporter)
While Ashlyn Sinclair took first in the steeplechase at the annual Woodward Relays Invitational Meet hosted by Walter Johnson Saturday, April 9, she didn't earn any points for the Blazers. This is because the steeplechase, the most anticipated race of the meet, is actually run for fun and not for points. The unique thing concerning this meet is that every event is a relay; there are no individual events. In the field events, individuals representing the same school have their scores added up together, and the sum is the "relay" score. Angela Hayes and Momo Reine, competing for Blair in the shot put and discus events, placed in the top six for shot put and second place for discus, with a total of approximately 174 ft. for the former.
Despite the lack of scoring, many Blazers ran hard and did well individually. "I PRed with a time of 53.49 [in the 400 meter leg of the Distance Medley Relay] and I did better than my goal," said sophomore Aaron Townsend. Sophmore Millicent Bright also commented that she was "proud of everybody for doing a great job."
Coach Hugo Harrison felt that "it was a fantastic meet in a sense that the students who participated today got experience. Also, a lot of the athletes today showed a lot of discipline and followed through in their event." So while points-wise the Blazers didn't fare so well, their efforts were still appreciated.
However, the main event taking place at Walter Johnson H.S. was the steeplechase event. Steeplechase is a 1,500 meter event run on the track with various obstacles interspersed throughout. Every 100 meters there is a wooden steeple, which is a lot like a regular hurdle except wider so more people can jump it at the same time. The real challenge, however, is the water trap built into the grass alongside the track's first curve. Runners must hurdle over a wooden steeple and the ten foot long, twelve inch deep water pit directly following it. Sophomores Ashlyn Sinclair, Emanuel Waktola, Paul Ishimoto and freshman Johanna Gretschel represented Blair in this test of skill.
Waktola expressed that running steeplechase surprised him. "It's not about winning or losing, it's about the true meaning of track: having fun!"
Ishimoto was in agreement, stating "Ashlyn Sinclair did very well in the steeplechase event and even though we didn't live up to her time, it was still a lot of fun."