Getting Back Up Again

The 2018 Forwald Coleman Relays brought both the girls and boys track teams together for their best performance of the season, and despite several setbacks, qualified for the Drake Relays in ten events

Lottie Gidal and Maya Djalali

The crowd collectively gasped as Oisin Leopold ‘20 tumbled to the ground. When he became the last-place finisher in the shuttle hurdle and did not hit his goal of 15 flat, the expectations of qualifying the relay for Drake were dashed, as were Leopold’s knees and shoulders.

“Immediately after I fell I was kind of stunned for a second because I don’t really fall too often. I was just stuck there and I heard my coach yelling,” Leopold said. “I thought, ‘Oh shoot, why am I not going already,’ so I got back in and we got in last but I finished the race.”

But Leopold came back later in the night to finish his 110-meter high hurdles with a PR. Although worried about falling again and in considerable pain, Leopold finished fourth.

I just blocked out the pain and was able to run faster than I normally do, so it was really all mental. I was thinking, ‘I just gotta push through it.’”

— Oisin Leopold '20

“I just blocked out the pain and I was able to run faster than I normally do, so it was really all mental. I was thinking, ‘I just gotta push through it. I can recover after the race,’” Leopold said.

“We had some adversity hit us in the face in the shuttle,” boys head coach Mike Moore said. “We were going to qualify for Drake. Now they are not going to get to run at Drake but I think they all turned around and responded really well with the rest of their meet after that, especially Oisin. He was all boogered up, knees, shoulders, everything, and he went out and ran two-tenths of a second faster than he’s ever run in the high hurdles. I was so proud of him.”

As the last qualifying meet for the Drake Relays and the state meet, both boys and girls teams had high hopes for this year’s Forwald Coleman Relays. Of the eight teams there, City High girls took fourth and boys took fifth. City High also qualified for Drake in 10 events, which was not as many as the teams had hoped, but Coach Moore is looking on the bright side.

“Sometimes you gotta pull some positives out of some negatives. We responded well, and I think not all is lost,” Moore said. “Another good takeaway is that our field events all scored points which is something that did not happen last year.”

The girls team had its best night of the season in 18 out of their 19 events. The team’s performance pushed it to be ranked third in the state.

“The most impressive part was the team effort,” Head Coach Terry Coleman said. “It wasn’t one individual here or one individual there, it was everybody all across the board and that’s one of the things we’ve really been trying to focus on is having that team effort.”

Ayana Lindsey ‘21 and Cece Kelley-Harvey ‘21 both ran legs of the 4×400 and 4×200 together and qualified for Drake in both.

“The 4×400 team is the best we’ve had in a long time. They are running about 60 seconds flat and it’s hard to find one runner to do that, let alone four. They are third in the state right now,” varsity runner Aly Hecker ‘19 said.

Both girls are freshmen, and according to the coaches are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the class of 2021.

“The thing that I like as we get down to conference, districts, and state, is that the freshmen are not running and jumping and throwing like freshmen anymore,” Coleman said. “They have just a great ability to block out all the distractions and take care of business. We did not have one freshman who was caught up in the moment and lost their focus. Every one of them had a great performance.”

Even though some of this season remains, Coach Coleman is already excited about what the abundance of talented freshmen means. Coleman is certain that this incoming group will lead the team to future successes.

All of the kids who weren’t competing were there cheering on their teammates, and that was huge for us.”

— Terry Coleman

“It could be interesting next year. We could push a top-five state finish, and who knows, we might be able to bring home a trophy,” Coleman said. “That’s what this group is able to lead us to. And it’s a process, it’s not something that’s going to be able to happen overnight, but certainly they put themselves in a position to have a really nice year next year.”

During the meet, many people stood out, though one person in particular caught the crowd’s attention: Caroline Schaeckenbach. A homeschooled student and first-year track athlete, Schaeckenbach was an unfamiliar face to many, yet she blew the crowd away as she qualified for Drake in every one of her events.

This meet was the only home meet with both boys and girls together, so spectator turnout was high. Members of the team who were not running still showed up to support those competing.
“Just a credit to the kids who were there,” Coleman said. “All of the kids who weren’t competing were there cheering on their teammates, and that was huge for us.”

John Momberg ‘18 attended the meet to cheer for his twin James, who was racing in the 800-meter run.

“I feel amazing. I’m so happy to be a part of such a successful and amazing team. I loved to watch my brother race against Daniel Brown,” Momberg said.

“People know me, they know my track staff and they know City High track and field tradition, and I think they’re not going to be surprised when we show up this weekend at Drake and do really well,” Moore said. “In the few things that we are going to do, we are gonna do them really well.”